Juan Agudelo says he nearly sealed moves to Liverpool and Celtic before his ill-fated transfer to Stoke City.
Agudelo joined Stoke in 2014, having broken through in MLS as a member of the New York Red Bulls, Chivas USA and the New England Revolution.
The forward had also emerged with the U.S. men's national team, prompting the Potters to sign him to a pre-contract in August 2013.
As Agudelo went to make that move the next January, however, he saw his work permit denied as he was sent to FC Utrecht on loan.
But Agudelo says he nearly moved to two different clubs prior to that Stoke move
“I thought for sure I was going to go to Celtic," Agudelo told MLSSoccer.com. “It was tough. I don’t know if I would have went to Liverpool and got loaned out, but I definitely wanted to go to Celtic. It was a place I was probably going to play.”
He added: “I was offered a contract at Utrecht as my loan ended, but it was a rough time for me. I was frustrated that I couldn’t play (for Stoke) because of work-permit and political issues. I wish I was stronger, but I was a kid. I was like, 'Man, I just want to go home'.”
Agudelo's career began with the New York Red Bulls, where he emerged as one of the brightest young stars in MLS.
Earning limited minutes alongside the likes of Thierry Henry, Agudelo made 38 appearances for the club after breaking through at just 17 years old.
Eventually, as he struggled to lock down a consistent spot in the lineup, Agudelo was traded to Chivas USA, ending his time with his hometown club.
He went on to score six goals in 29 appearances for Chivas USA as well as 37 goals in 169 games over two stints with the New England Revolution that sandwiched his European career.
“I wish it worked out differently," Agudelo said. "I wouldn’t have wanted to change clubs. I don’t even know if I would have entertained going to Europe. I did always want to go, but if things went well with the Red Bulls I would have loved to be that full career, franchise player there."
He added: “First of all, I needed the trade because of what I felt what I needed for my development, I wasn’t getting any love, to be honest, from the coach and GM. But I do wish it worked out differently.
"Coming out of the academy at a club I was wearing their crest since I was 14 years old. I represented them when I was at the U-17 World Cup, people knew I was from the Red Bulls academy. Local club."
Agudelo is now with his fourth MLS club, Inter Miami, having joined from the New England Revolution ahead of the Florida club's expansion season.
"I don’t really think about (][the past] too much, I just try to focus on what I’m doing now," Agudelo said. "I like the experiences I’ve had with all the clubs. Especially now with Miami."