Juan Agudelo’s request for a work permit to join Stoke City has been denied by UK authorities, dealing a cruel blow to the striker’s chances of playing in the English Premier League.

In August, Agudelo signed a pre-contract with Stoke City whereby the US international striker would join the Potters in the January transfer window. However, the move was contingent on the player getting his request for a work permit approved.

Stoke City Chief Executive Tony Scholes told the UK press:

“We’re bitterly disappointed that the panel rejected our appeal for a work permit for Juan.

“The criteria by which the panel should make work permit application decisions are well established and have been in place for some years and, despite recent comments to the media and discussion in the media, that criteria has not changed.

“We are therefore left amazed that our application for a work permit for Juan has been rejected when you compare his talent and ability to players who have been granted a work permit on appeal in the past.

“Unfortunately, under the rules of the appeal panel system we were given no explanation why the application was rejected and so can only speculate as to the reasons why we have been unsuccessful.”

Scholes and manager Mark Hughes appeared at the appeals hearing today, but now that the appeal for a work permit has been rejected, the club is unable to appeal the decision.

Agudelo’s contract with MLS expires on December 31.