May 18, 2012
LONGING FOR A TRADE
Agudelo wanted out for quite a while
By Kristian R. Dyer
BigAppleSoccer.com Contributing Editor
UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – If Juan Agudelo had his way, Thursday’s trade that sent him from the Red Bulls to Chivas USA would have happened a year ago.
On Friday morning following training, coach Hans Backe was asked if the 19-year old forward had previously requested a move out of New York in order to get more playing time. Backe confirmed that Agudelo had requested a trade last season so as to get more playing time.
“Juan has asking for a move for quite a while,” Backe said. “It makes no sense to keep an unhappy player. But it has been going on for a while.”
General manager and sporting director Erik Soler also spoke with the media on Friday and he admitted that the trade was a difficult one to make. Entering his third season in MLS, the Barnegat, N.J. native had 33 league appearances and 13 starts for the Red Bulls and quickly became a regular on the U.S. National Team. He was the future of the franchise.
Soler said that he has had regular conversations with the young forward, who has attracted high-profile overseas interest, about the club’s vision for his development. The vision of the Red Bulls to slowly bring along Agudelo did not mesh with the player’s want for immediate playing time.
“I’ve been speaking personally to Juan a number of times over the past months about his future, his wishes, our wishes. How we can work together, not work together,” Soler said.
“As I said, some people think it’s wrong to let him go; I think it’s a perfectly right thing to do. I need to think about his career, his wishes but also the club.”
The move to Chivas USA seems to be an ideal move from Agudelo’s perspective as the player gets a chance at not only immediate playing time but also to start. In New York, he would have sat behind Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper in the forward rotation and with the Red Bulls actively looking to bring Luke Rodgers back following visa issues, playing time would have been sparse for Agudelo.
Indicating that Agudelo needs matches to develop, Soler is hopeful that a player who rose through the ranks of the Red Bull Academy can continue to develop. As part of the deal, New York will hold an interest in the player’s transfer fee, should he make a move overseas.
Soler said the Red Bulls “will be a proud part of that” when Agudelo plays in Europe someday. He anticipates the player, who has 18 months left in his MLS deal, to sign an extension with Chivas USA.
“My consideration has been the sporting part all the time. It’s very hard for young kids these days to go to big clubs. They have 50 good talents and maybe one makes it – maybe zero. Just look at the top 20 teams in Europe, it’s so hard to get anywhere. You need to go through other stations to develop.” Soler said.
“Especially now with the World Cup, they want him involved in qualifiers, they want MLS players like him and Brek Shea and a few others to be a part of that – to represent MLS. I think that’s a good decision for Juan to stay longer, sign a new contract, be a part of MLS for a few years. Then still, probably at a young age, leave.”
Follow Kristian R. Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer