Say whatever you will about the Vancouver Whitecaps this offseason, but they've definitely kept it interesting. Their latest move came on Thursday when they signed Scottish midfielder Barry Robson to a Designated Player contract. Robson will finish out his season with nPower Championship side Middlesbrough and join the Whitecaps in July after the summer transfer window opens.
"Barry has been a proven playmaker at the highest levels of the game for both club and country," Whitecaps head coach Martin Rennie said in a team release. "He is a versatile box-to-box midfielder that can play in several positions, with the ability to create and score goals. Barry will be a great addition to our squad."
The 33-year-old will most likely play as a central midfielder for the Whitecaps, although he has spent time all over the midfield and has even played a little forward. He's shown an impressive scoring touch from just about every position he's played, bagging 18 goals and 16 assists since joining Middlsebrough in 2010. He's also made 16 appearances for Scotland since debuting in 2007.
"I am very excited to be joining Whitecaps FC and to continue my career in Major League Soccer," said Robson. "I am impressed by the quality of MLS and Vancouver as a club. They have a passionate fan base and a fantastic stadium in BC Place. My family and I are also looking forward to our move to Canada and the beautiful city of Vancouver this summer."
When he's available, Robson could be in the middle of a very dangerous attack that includes the likes of Eric Hassli, Sebastien Le Toux, Camilo Sanvezzo and Davide Chiumiento. The big question will be how much Robson has left in the tank after a long season in England. Since his season started in August, he's played 28 matches for club and country. Middlesbrough has at least 16 matches left to play and that doesn't include any potential promotion playoffs. He will likely be coming of a lengthy break of more than a month. He could also end up leaving the Whitecaps in September as Scotland starts World Cup qualifying with four matches from Sept. 8-Oct. 16.
For more on the signing, be sure to check out Whitecaps blog 86 Forever.