AMSTERDAM – While former New England Revolution forward Juan Agudelo revealed via Twitter on Tuesday that he has completed a deal to join Stoke City, MLSsoccer.com has learned via multiple sources that the US international has officially been on the Potters' books since signing his original pre-contract last August.
With his Revs contract into its final months, the 21-year-old signed a multi-year pact to join Stoke only to have his UK Home Office work permit application denied in November.
However, a FIFA statute dictates that pre-contracts cannot be voided later by a failure to win a work permit. Though Agudelo included a hash tag reading "#SignedToday" in Tuesday’s revelatory tweet, sources on both sides of the Atlantic have confirmed that his original contract has tied him to Stoke since August and no second attempt at a deal was ever necessary.
With a three-month waiting period required between work permit chases, Agudelo is not eligible to re-apply with Stoke until mid-March. Hence, the club was forced into secretly shopping for a loan elsewhere in Europe until the end of the season, a process which is now into its final stages.
MLSsoccer.com has confirmed that Belgian league leaders Standard Liège and Eredivisie power FC Twente are among a small handful of clubs still interested in a six-month Agudelo loan. The youngster has recently entertained such interest from clubs in Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands, but it is unclear whether longtime admirers Valencia remain in the race for his temporary services.
Jupiler League champs Anderlecht – home of former MLSers Sacha Kljestan and Andy Najar – have also repeatedly been mentioned as a possible destination, but Belgian paper Het Laatste Nieuws debunked that for the second time in a week on Wednesday morning with a direct quote from the club.
Agudelo, who also played for the New York Red Bulls and Chivas USA, scored seven times in 20 regular-season games for New England last season. In all, the Colombia-born attacker bagged 18 goals in 73 league outings.