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May 26, 2014

Stoke frustrated over Agudelo

Tony Scholes believes Juan Agudelo could eventually be worth around 10 million pounds.
Tony Scholes believes Juan Agudelo could eventually be worth around 10 million pounds.

Stoke City chief executive Tony Scholes has hit out at the system after failing to secure a work permit for U.S. international Juan Agudelo.

Stoke release Etherington

Scholes told the Stoke Sentinel newspaper it is "completely wrong" that the 21-year-old striker was unable to play for the Potters and blamed FA chairman Greg Dyke's drive to improve the standard of English footballers.

"Juan Agudelo is a 21-year-old U.S. international," Scholes said. "The U.S. are 13th in the FIFA World Rankings, England are 11th. Can you imagine an England player at 21 with 18 caps for his country who gets turned down for a work permit anywhere? It's completely wrong.

"Of course we are caught up in the whole environment with Greg Dyke's commission, even though the rules are clear and that shouldn't be a factor, but there has been without doubt been a hardening of stance. A player who should have got in because he would have contributed to the game has been turned down."

Agudelo had joined Stoke in January but had to be sent to Utrecht on loan after his initial work permit request was turned down. He will now be available on a free transfer this summer, and Scholes has predicted that he could eventually be worth 10 million pounds.

"We are disappointed by the saga, but you must multiply that frustration by 10 for the player, who will now probably play for a decent team in Europe somewhere," he said. "The irony is that he will probably be a success there, and in a few years a Premier League club will be prepared to pay a few million pounds for him.

"English top flight clubs are always being criticised about high transfer fees. We are told the Germans are better, and the Spanish and the Italians. Well, Juan Agudelo can go and play in any of those three countries now because he'd get a work permit there.

"Clubs over here may have to wait until he's proven himself in Spain and then pay 10 million pounds for him."

Stoke are now expected to bolster their attack with the signing of Mame Biram Diouf, who is set to leave Hannover on a free transfer when his contract expires this summer.

Kicker has reported that the 26-year-old has agreed personal terms with Stoke but the deal is being held up due to his agent's demands, and Hannover president Martin Kind told the German football magazine: "I wouldn't be surprised about that. The agent was close to overstepping certain limits here."

Nonetheless, former Stoke boss Lou Macari has high hopes for the former Manchester United man, having watched him regularly as part of his work for MUTV.

"He was only a youngster then and obviously still learning his game, but you could sense a player who loved the ball played over the top for him to give chase and harass defenders," Macari told the Sentinel. "He could finish as well and that's something he's gone on to prove in his two years in Germany's Bundesliga with Hannover."

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