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Transfer Rater: Walker to Barca, Benzema to PSG


Stoke's Agudelo pursuit looks over

Stoke City manager Mark Hughes is unlikely to press ahead with a second attempt to sign New England Revolution striker Juan Agudelo.

Agudelo scored five goals in 11 starts in the last MLS regular season.
Juan Agudelo signed for New England Revolution this year.

• Whittaker: Stoke bring the noise

Stoke have confirmed Agudelo visited the club last week and met with chief executive Tony Scholes -- following the collapse of his proposed move to the Britannia Stadium after a work permit application was rejected last month.

Agudelo was also present for Saturday's 3-2 victory over Chelsea and is believed to still be keen on a move to the Premier League, despite having several offers from European clubs.

Spanish side Valencia are thought to be in pole position to sign the 21-year-old after offering a long-term contract for the international who is a free agent after his contract with New England expired.

Scholes met with Agudelo to provide a face-to-face explanation as to why Stoke's permit application was rejected just days after Hughes admitted the deal was "dead in the water."

Regulations allow Stoke to make a second application, four months after their first attempt and theoretically they could sign the striker next month and gamble on a favourable hearing in mid-March.

That would require Agudelo rejecting his European offers and agreeing to the risk of signing for Stoke and another permit hearing at a time when Hughes is intensifying his search for a new striker.

Hughes lamented that the collapse of the Agudelo transfer could cost Stoke 10 million pounds because of the player's future value, but has made it clear he wants someone available at the start of the New Year and has the backing of chairman Peter Coates.

Stoke scouts were sent to watch Luuk de Jong at the weekend when the Netherlands international was an 83rd-minute substitute in Borussia Moenchengladbach's 2-1 home win over Schalke.

De Jong would be a more expensive target, but looks certain to leave the Bundesliga next month after a break down in relations with manager Lucien Favre, which has left him a peripheral figure.

The forward, who was selected for Netherland's Euro 2012 squad, will also be desperate for regular first-team football to resurrect his chances of making their squad for next summer's World Cup finals.


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