Training stints with top European clubs have become a winter ritual for young MLS players, and apparently so has the European media’s inability – or disinclination – to distinguish them from trials.
Chivas USA striker Juan Agudelo is currently spending time with Scottish giants Celtic FC, and his visit to Glasgow has rapidly sparked suggestions that it could grow into a much longer stay.
“Due to the fact that MLS has a short – well, compared to European seasons, a short season – I just wanted to get a little extra training done, because I’m a player that always wants to improve,” Agudelo said in an in-depth interview conducted by Grant Russell of STV Sport this week. “And what better place to come than check out Scotland and Celtic – so much history here.”
At Russell’s prompting, Agudelo, who turned 20 years old on Friday, acknowledged that a permanent move was “definitely something I thought of, as soon as I heard the word 'Celtic,'” and that a transfer to Europe may lie in his future.
What’s more, according to the BBC, Agudelo’s abilities have quickly caught the eye of Bhoys manager Neil Lennon.
“He has looked very good, we have been very impressed with him,” Lennon told the BBC's website in a report posted on Friday. “We are hoping he will stay around for a few more days and we can talk with his representatives.”
Chivas USA, however, say they have no plans to sanction a move for their prized youngster at this time, with a new head coach expected to come onboard in the coming weeks.
“For us, the club, for the organization, Juan Agudelo is just keeping fit training with Celtic, and that’s it. There are no plans for the club to take any kind of transfer,” Chivas USA Communications manager Rodrigo Ochoa told MLSsoccer.com on Friday.
“He’s taking advantage of the vacation time that we have right now, and he’s training, keeping fit.”
Last week Ron Waxman, Agudelo’s agent, emphasized to MLSsoccer.com that his client’s time in Glasgow is a routine occasion for a player of his age and ability, one that US national team coach Jurgen Klinsmann strongly recommends.
So while the transfer rumors may keep bubbling, it will probably take some doing for Celtic to prise the talented Red Bulls academy product away from that Goats. During the STV Sports interview, Agudelo was already looking ahead to an improved 2013 for himself and his California club.
“It was a tough season. Me coming off knee surgery, it was tough to get in the flow and get an understanding of the way to play with one another on Chivas,” he said. “I just feel like next season’s going to be 10 times better.”