Published reports indicate that American international Aron Johannsson could be a transfer target for Stoke City this January. Johannsson, who replaced fellow American Jozy Altidore as AZ’s main attacking threat, has scored eleven times in sixteen Eredivisie matches this season.
Johannsson might very well need to stay put to ensure his spot on this summer’s US World Cup squad. While many consider Johannsson a lock, it is entirely possible if he goes to Stoke City and sits in the way Brek Shea has and Maurice Edu did before him, he could fall quickly down the pecking order particularly if another US striker emerges.
AZ’s Director of Football Earnie Stewart, himself a former US World Cup captain, told ESPN FC:
“I have heard the rumors about Aron but we have not had any contact with clubs, we are not looking to sell Aron.”
Other clubs such as Celtic are also reported to be interested in acquiring Johannsson’s services.
Stoke signed a pre-contract with US international Juan Agudelo in August, but he was denied a work permit. Still he continues to train with Stoke and could secure a move to the club coupled with a loan deal to another EU nation in order to get games towards a work permit. Agudelo needs games to work his way back into the US picture, and should he find a club where he plays while Johannsson makes a bad move to Stoke or another British club, it could impact the selection.
During the last World Cup, the United States selected three strikers for the final squad that played little or no role in qualifying. Herculez Gomez, Robbie Findley and Edson Buddle all worked their way into the US squad between November 2009 and May 2010 due to outstanding club form. While Jürgen Klinsmann might view things differently opting to stick with the players like Johannsson that impressed previously, the youngster should probably be cautious about a move.
Editor’s note: For the latest USMNT news, analysis and opinion, visit the US Men’s National Team page.