Stoke City have been denied a work permit for United States international striker Juan Agudelo following an appeals panel hearing in London on Wednesday, according to the club’s official website, Stokecityfc.com.
Agudelo, who signed a pre-contract agreement with the Potters in August, was set to move to the Britannia Stadium in January.
The US international, 20, has tallied a career-best nine goals and two assists in 22 MLS appearances for Chivas USA and the New England Revolution this season.
Agudelo would have been Mark Hughes’ third signing, after Erik Pieters (PSV Eindhoven) and Marc Muniesa (FC Barcelona), at Stoke.
“We’re bitterly disappointed that the panel rejected our appeal for a work permit for Juan,” said the club’s chief executive Tony Scholes.
“The criteria by which the panel should make work permit application decisions are well established and have been in place for some years and, despite recent comments to the media and discussion in the media, that criteria has not changed.
“We are therefore left amazed that our application for a work permit for Juan has been rejected when you compare his talent and ability to players who have been granted a work permit on appeal in the past.
“Unfortunately, under the rules of the appeal panel system we were given no explanation why the application was rejected and so can only speculate as to the reasons why we have been unsuccessful.”
Despite Scholes’ comments, Stoke supporters should not lose any sleep over the failure to sign Agudelo.
The summer arrival of Marko Arnautovic for a fee of £2 million was undoubtedly a transfer coup, but the Potters will still need strike reinforcements in January.
Kenwyne Jones and Peter Crouch have combined to score just one goal in 14 English Premier League matches in 2013/14. That’s not good enough.
However, oddly enough, Mark Hughes’ side have netted more goals, 10, than Tottenham Hotspur, 9, in the Premier League this term.
Conca rejoins Fluminense
Fluminense have completed the signing of former Argentina youth starlet Dario Conca from Chinese Super League champions Guangzhou Evergrande, FIFA.com understands.
Conca, 30, became the third highest paid footballer in the world upon joining Guangzhou in 2011.
The 30-year-old ace helped lead Guangzhou to the AFC Champions League title this season, the first continental triumph for a Chinese club in 23 years.
Conca is absolutely delighted to return to the Maracanã, and rightfully so.
“I would like to thank the Fluminense fans for all the affection they have shown me over the years,” said Conca.
“I am very happy to return to Fluminense and I’m looking forward to playing once again next year.”