[MLS SPOTLIGHT] Major League Soccer clubs are spending about $20 million annually on player development but have yet to see a monetary payoff on their
investment. The first two homegrown players who could garner a sizable transfer fee are Chivas USA's Juan Agudelo and D.C. United's Andy Najar. Agudelo recently finished a training stint at Celtic, and Najar just arrived at Belgian champion Anderlecht for what the local press was calling a tryout.
Before Agudelo left on vacation for his native Colombia, where he saw his father for the first time in five years, Celtic manager Neil Lennon said he was impressed with the 20-year-old Chivas USA striker during the training stint, one of many MLS has arranged for young players at foreign clubs during the league's offseason.
"He has looked very good," said Lennon.
Agudelo reportedly has one year left on his contract -- which would make him a prime candidate for a transfer abroad.
After two-plus seasons with the New York Red Bulls, he was traded to Chivas USA in June 2012, after which he scored three goals in 20 games (16 starts). Chivas USA would have an incentive to sell Agudelo as it seeks funds for its anticipated makeover with Mexican talent.
The Honduran-born Najar's arrival in Brussels could be the first step in a move that would begin with a loan deal through June 2013, followed by a permanent transfer at Anderlecht's option.
The 19-year-old Najar signed a multi-year contract extension in December 2010 following his Rookie of the Year season with D.C. United.
Anderlecht coach John van den Brom is high on Najar, who would compete for playing time on the right wing with another teenager, highly rated Belgian Massimo Bruno.
Two other Hondurans, both now in MLS, have been at Anderlecht. San Jose Earthquakes defender Victor Bernardez spent two years in Belgium, while Seattle Sounders midfielder Mario Martinez had a six-month loan deal.