In the recent past, there have been several American players who have made their mark in the Premier League. Clint Dempsey and Brad Friedel have been primary examples of that fact. One such American who could have made a name for himself in England is Juan Agudelo.
Recently he stated to MLS Soccer that he could have played for Liverpool or Celtic. Instead, he made a move to Stoke City, before finally returning to the USA. In the interview he has mentioned, “I thought for sure I was going to go to Celtic,” Agudelo said.
“It was tough. I don’t know if I would have went to Liverpool and got loaned out, but I definitely wanted to go to Celtic. It was a place I was probably going to play.”
The career of Juan Agudelo
The 27-year-old is right now playing for Inter Miami since the turn of the new year. However, his journey has not been without ups and downs. Starting his career at New York Red Bulls, he spent two seasons with the side before moving to Chivas USA. After spending one season with them, he was transferred to the New England Revolution for whom he scored seven goals in fourteen matches. That caught the eye of the Stoke City board, and the English side decided to rope him in 2014.
The move did not go well for him as he never managed to make an appearance for the side. The Potters twice applied for a work permit for their man, although both their attempts were unsuccessful. After a loan spell in the Netherlands, he finally returned to America and reunited with the New England Revolution. The next five seasons of his life were spent there and only in 2020, he moved to Inter Miami.
His anticipated role at Liverpool
Although touted as the next big thing from the continent of North America once upon a time, Agudelo’s career has since been quite average. In his interview, he has himself stated that signing for Liverpool at that point of time would have meant that he would be loaned out to some other side. The Kops were on a high in 2013 with the combination of Suarez and Sturridge wreaking havoc in the league. Additionally Sterling was in great touch at that point of time, and they were cruising towards the league under manager Brendan Rodgers, only to lose it by a whisker in the final stages.
Signing for the Merseyside club at that point of time would have meant sitting on the bench or being farmed out to another side on loan. However, that does not imply the forward would not have had his share of chances.
The next season Luis Suarez left, and Liverpool had to bring in a host of new players to compensate the loss. That was when the chances would have come. Players like Rickie Lambert and Mario Balotelli, who had disastrous spells for the club, were brought in and Agudelo could have had the opportunity to prove his worth (provided Liverpool were more competent with the work permit issue).
However, all that has remained at the end of the day is wishful thinking and an extremely mediocre career. Still playing for the six times European champions would have put him in an elite league in America, a trait that very few have achieved.