It's been more than a year since the Red Bulls flipped academy product Juan Agudelo to Chivas USA for Heath Pearce, allocation money and a cut of Agudelo's future transfer fee to whatever European club is willing to pay up (and one was going to pay up).
Since then, a lot has changed. This season, Chivas sent Agudelo back east to the New England Revolution. And today the day we all knew was coming was finally upon us: It was reported Agudelo is on his way to England, signing a pre-contract with Stoke City, with the team working to get him abroad sooner rather than later.
What hasn't changed are the Agudelo-to-Chivas terms, which apparently remain intact even with the second trade. Dave Martinez at Empire of Soccer is reporting the Red Bulls are in for a "windfall gain" from Agudelo's deal with Stoke, though specific numbers weren't disclosed.
That transfer fee percentage offered in the deal that sent Agudelo to LA was called an offer the Red Bulls couldn't refuse, and later we found out then-GM Erik Soler wasn't kidding around. Reportedly, it was almost the entirety of it, if not all of it. Whatever the percentage is, it's enough to be called a "windfall."
Wherever he went, New York, LA, Boston, Agudelo always went with plenty of promise. He's the youngest player to ever score for the national team and possesses a crazy amount of attacking flair. But he lacks the polish needed to be a truly effective 90 minute player. He was shipped west because, according to Agudelo, the Red Bulls weren't interested in his development. This season, he was shipped back to the east coast (likely) because he's in no way Mexican.
He's been a pretty good player for the Revs, and fans up in the Boston area aren't happy to see him go, but he's still got that flair that made it a foregone conclusion he would be heading to Europe. That's basically what Stoke City is paying for. We'd all like Agudelo to grow into his potential -- it'll be great for the national team and the Red Bulls academy -- and hopefully Stoke can help him with that. In the meantime, the Red Bulls are in for a payday.
UPDATE: It wasn't really made expressly clear in the Empire of Soccer story -- and as we all know, the world of MLS finances can be murky -- but the Red Bulls will likely only get financial compensation if Agudelo, Stoke and the league work out a deal before the transfer window closes, giving the three until Thursday to get a deal done. Agudelo's pre-contract with Stoke would have him join the English club in January, but a move now would see Stoke pay a transfer fee to, essentially, the league for Agudelo's services. Half that transfer fee would be headed to the Red Bulls coffers, according to an update to Martinez's story above.