Stoke boss Mark Hughes tips Juan Agudelo to be a Premier League star
Stoke manager Mark Hughes has been impressed by Juan Agudelo's progress at Utrecht and is gearing up to make a second work permit application for the United States striker.
Stoke signed a pre-contract agreement with Agudelo last summer with the aim of him moving from Major League Soccer to the Barclays Premier League in January.
The deal fell through when the 21-year-old was denied a work permit at a hearing in November but the Potters decided to sign him in January anyway and loan him to Dutch side Utrecht for the rest of this season.
Stoke must now hope for a different outcome when they reapply for a work permit, and are no doubt keeping their fingers crossed Agudelo is included in the USA's World Cup squad.
Potters boss Hughes travelled to Holland earlier this month to watch Agudelo score in an Eredivisie game against Heracles, his second goal in 12 appearances.
Hughes told stokecityfc.com: "Juan did very well in the game I saw.
"He scored a good goal, showed a lot of technical ability as well, and I was able to see him after the game, which was pleasing because I haven't seen him for a number of weeks.
"He seemed quite content and is happy with his situation. Utrecht is a good club; they've got a good set-up and I was very impressed with their stadium, which is a nice stage for him to ply his trade.
"He and I were both talking about the work permit and I hope we're able to get one this time - that's certainly what he's focusing on.
"I saw enough in the time he spent training with us to get a real understanding of what he can offer and I've now seen him in a league environment and he did well in that as well."