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Aron Johannsson Needs to Stay In Holland to Improve Chances of Inclusion In USMNT World Cup Squad

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.

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  1. IanCransonsKnees

    January 7, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    That’s the man I’m listening too. He’s there north east specialist so I don’t particularly question his opinion.

  2. YoYo

    January 7, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    Is it just me or could the same have been said about Altidore. I think that it was the worst decision for Altidore to move to the Premier League this off season. Now he is going to be a out of form, not up to match fit, and more importantly have no confidence when it comes time for the world cup. Even if the level of competition in Holland was sub Premier League, it still provided Altidore with constant game time and the chance to score goals. Where at Sunderland he just isn’t getting any of that. He may be able to hold the ball up well, but so could Andy Carroll.

    • IanCransonsKnees

      January 7, 2014 at 2:24 pm

      I read something about the service Altidore got in Holland being more frequent and of a better quality than he’s getting at Sunderland.

      Andy Cole always used to seem to take 6 or so chances to score a goal, if Altidore isn’t getting the service to do this he’s got no chance.

      He seems to have the physique to play up front in the Premier League but he’s rapidly becoming a figure of fun over here, in fact I’m listening to it now on Talksport. Hopefully him he can make himself a hero tonight.

      From a selfish POV I’d give Johannsson a go at Stoke, he looks creative enough. However if it were me in his position I’d move in the summer and play at the world cup.

      • Christopher Harris

        January 7, 2014 at 2:36 pm

        talkSPORT’s Graham Courtney, in particular, is a very vocal critic of Jozy Altidore. He can’t understand why Poyet keeps on picking him.

  3. Americano & Proud

    January 7, 2014 at 12:43 am

    He will not move according to Earnie Stewart. Its very difficult to move to a new country much less a new club in January during a world club season.

    I’m more interested to see what ends up of Juan Agudelo. It’s too bad about the work permit. Seems like a double standard compared to other players who have received it.

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