After a few months of "Will he, or won't he?" Chivas USA forward Juan Agudelo remains a Goat heading into the 2013 MLS season. After a training stint with Scottish Premier League club Celtic FC, and another training stint with English Premier League club West Ham United, followed by extensive speculation that Agudelo was a transfer target of Celtic, it looks like the striker will be in MLS for at least six more months, as the British Transfer Deadline day has passed. Over on Goal.com, Alex Labidou also reported last night that Agudelo would not be moving on.
Reportedly, MLS and Celtic were in discussions over the past several weeks regarding Agudelo, but Chivas apparently helped nix the initial bid(s) for being too low. What complicates matters is that there are three parties involved on the American end - not only Chivas, but also Agudelo's former club New York Red Bulls, who will get a substantial portion of any transfer fee he merits, and also MLS as an entity. I would imagine that if the Red Bulls were the only club involved, they would have pushed to get a transfer, although MLS could have still blocked the deal (they have done so before, including Taylor Twellman, whose deal to Preston North End was reportedly nixed by the league in 2008).
Meanwhile, Chivas USA don't have the same motivation to see Agudelo go. Although coach Chelís seemed resigned to losing him just a couple weeks ago, he has also talked about the role the forward will provide this season. As I've previously written, Agudelo's European ambitions are no secret, and he has one year left on his current contract. Chivas would have a hard time convincing him to re-sign (though it is theoretically possible) and they won't receive a great deal from his transfer, since the Red Bulls would get the bulk of the fee. What is their motivation to see him walk? They can just let him play out his contract then see him walk away.
One last note - Agudelo has not trained with his club at all this preseason, as he's been with the U.S. Men's National Team in their annual training camp. No word yet on whether he will be part of the USMNT squad for next week's World Cup qualifier against Honduras, but if he is, he'll stay out of camp even longer (although he will be getting plenty of training in). He played almost a half hour Tuesday against Canada in the dull 0-0 friendly draw, but if he isn't called up to the Honduras match, he will join Chivas USA sooner.
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