U.S. striker Juan Agudelo lands at Utrecht, via Stoke City
The Dutch league has been good to U.S. strikers lately, so perhaps the high-scoring Eredivisie is a place Juan Agudelo can successfully launch the next phase of his career.
ESPN’s Marc Stein has reported that Dutch club FC Utrecht is Agudelo’s landing point in a transfer saga that has dragged on for months. It comes via loan from Stoke City, where the young U.S. marksman has been signed, but cannot actually play after failure to gain a UK work permit.
Friday’s ESPN report said Stoke City, which first began chasing the 21-year-old striker’s signature last summer, will continue to pursue the work permit, although it seems unlikely that Agudelo could play at the Britannia this year.
Big success in the Dutch Eredivisie – a league that values its scoring opportunities far more than defense – helped vault Jozy Altidore to the next rung in his career, one that had been a big start-and-stop before last year’s breakout. Altidore set a record for an American in Europe by netting 31 goals across in all competitions for Alkmaar. That shattered the old record for U.S. players abroad, held by Clint Dempsey. His prolific scoring helped Altidore gain U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year honors for 2013 (not to mention that summer move into Sunderland, for better or worse, as it turns out).
Young U.S. international Aron Johannsson replaced Altidore at Alkmaar, and now he is scoring regularly for the Dutch club, as well. Johannsson might even break Altidore record from just a year back.