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Whitecaps Add Barry Robson As Designated Player

After a couple of days of speculation, the news is official. Barry Robson is heading to Vancouver in July and will be joining the Whitecaps as a Designated Player.

The Caps must be starting to hate Twitter and other online endeavours, as their big announcements are always being pre-empted by online sleuths.

On the other hand, it helps add to the excitement before the official announcement and gets fans talking and hyped up about the club and the signing of Robson has certainly done that here on the west coast.

The 33 year old Scottish international will join the Whitecaps in July, pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and Visa, and will see out the current Championship campaign with Middlesbrough, as he tries to get them back into the English Premiership.

Robson comes to Vancouver having scored 98 goals in 492 career club matches to date. It's an impressive record for any midfielder, and yes, a lot of them have been penalties, but a lot of them have also been free kicks and spectacular long range efforts too.

Robson has been capped 16 times by Scotland and is still very much in the international reckoning. He hopes to play in Scotland's 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign and has already spoken to Craig Levein, who has ensured him that a move to North America won't hamper his international aspirations.
It's a great move for both the Club and the player. I've been a fan of Robson's for a few years now. I actually first saw him play in 1997 for Inverness Caley Thistle and then in 2000 when he was on loan with Forfar Athletic in the Scottish Third Division and playing against my East Fife. He scored his first professional goal against us in a 4-0 drubbing in December 1997.

He was standing out at that level with Forfar and soon went back to Inverness Caley where he became a first team regular and earned a move to the SPL with Dundee United, playing alongside current Whitecaps assistant coach Paul Ritchie.

He then went on to join Celtic, scoring with his first touch in a Celts' shirt, where he won the Scottish Premier League and League Cup.

He adds just the bite the Whitecaps are needing in the middle of the park, but also gives Rennie some options out wide as well if he wanted to switch things up at any time. Add in an experienced head and I think we could be looking at the Whitecaps future captain.

Rennie is certainly glad to have him in Vancouver, if not a little surprised:

<i>"He's a player that we've admired for a long time and wanted to try and get on board. We've done a lot of research and found out a lot about him as a player and as a person.

Although we thought it was a long shot, and one we didn't think would come of, we're really happy that he's going to be joining us.

We think that he'll be a big part of what we're doing. He's the kind of player we need to add to our group."</i>

Paul Ritchie is also <i>"absolutely delighted"</i> to be working with Robson again:

<i>"I was fortunate enough to play with Barry at Dundee United and know what he will be able to bring to the Club with his quality and professionalism."</i>

For Robson himself, he can't wait to get started with his new team and try and get the Caps <i>"as far up that table as possible"</i> :

<i>"I am very excited to be joining Whitecaps FC and to continue my career in Major League Soccer. 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."</i>

Will Robson be the missing piece of the puzzle that the Caps have been looking for in the middle of the park?

I think he will be. His age doesn't concern me, as there is a still a lot of gas in that tank, as he has shown with Boro the last two seasons.

It's a shame we can't get him until the summer, but hopefully the midfield we currently have will step up and have us battling for a playoff spot by the time Robson arrives.

With Carlos Bocanegra now being the latest player to be linked with Vancouver, it's an exciting time to be a Caps fan.