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Juan Agudelo receives minimal pay increase to stay with New England Revolution

new england revolution striker juan agudelo playing against the houston dynamo
New England Revolution forward Juan Agudelo received only a $2,500 salary increase to stay with the club in 2019. (Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports)

Juan Agudelo will receive a minuscule increase in pay this season as part of the new contract he signed with the New England Revolution in December.

The multiyear deal features a 2019 salary of $605,000 in guaranteed compensation, according to a source, which is an increase of $2,500 from the 2018 figure MLS Players Union reported for Agudelo.

Agudelo seemed like one of the most likely candidates to leave New England this winter with his expiring contract and rumors of interest from European teams. But the new salary indicates Agudelo either had a sharp change of heart or didn’t have an offer enticing enough to merit leaving Major League Soccer.

“I could’ve chosen to go to Europe, but I didn’t like the way my season went last year,” Agudelo told The Boston Globe in January. “So, I thought there was a better way to leave [New England].”

The 2018 season, in which New England failed to reach the playoffs for the third consecutive year, was Agudelo’s fifth in Foxborough. He spent a chunk of the spring and summer with an injured hamstring and was relegated mostly to the bench, though he did still manage to make 30 appearances and score three goals.

Despite reports to the contrary, it seemed dubious that any club in a top European league would pay Agudelo more than he made with the Revolution, considering his recent contributions as an attacking player.

Playing in Europe remains an elusive dream for Agudelo. In 2013, he signed a pre-contract with Stoke City but was never able to formally join the team after failing to obtain a British work permit. He subsequently went on loan to FC Utrecht in 2014, but returned to MLS in 2015 to sign a new deal with the Revolution.

Agudelo has shown flashes of brilliance during his time with the Revolution, though he’s drawn criticism for struggling to sustain his offensive output.

Regardless, Agudelo maintains he “100 percent” intends to play in Europe someday.

“I just turned 26 and I’ve seen guys go to Europe way later than me,” he said. “Yes, it’s definitely in my plans.”

For now, Agudelo is with the Revolution in Bradenton, Fla., at preseason training camp. He has one goal so far in preseason.

The Revolution are still paying a hefty sum for a player who has struggled to carve out a definable role. Agudelo has plenty of upside, but is he supposed to play as a striker or on the wing? Is he a starter or second-string?

These are typical questions for preseason, but they still hurt to ask with $605,000 on the line.

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