It's confirmed: as discussed on this site yesterday, veteran Scottish international and Middlesbrough attacking midfielder Barry Robson has signed with the Vancouver Whitecaps. Robson, 33, will be the Whitecaps' second designated player along with Eric Hassli.
Robson looks like a replacement for what Mustapha Jarju should have been: an attacking midfielder who plays for his national team and is a good all-round attacker best known for scoring goals coming out of a second division (although he's had some first division success as well). Of course, Robson is 33 years old whereas Jarju is 25.
No, I don't really mean to call Robson the new Jarju. The similarities in role are obvious: the differences are that, with 73 excellent games in the English Championship over the past two seasons as well as comprehensive Scottish Premier League experience, Robson is much more of a proven quantity. He's getting on in years but he's also a highly capable player at a level higher than MLS; if he can bring his Championship production to Canada he'll be worth a DP slot. Robson's stayed healthy and has a good attitude by all accounts. If you don't think the Whitecaps are overloaded on attacking players, he's a good risk: even if you do think the Whitecaps are too one-dimensional, Robson's midfield scoring is a facet we haven't got yet.
Also, it's unlikely Robson will be used as a forward.
I've already gone over the tactical implications of Robson so I'll spare your blushes. Suffice to say that this has to be bad news for Davide Chiumiento, as I can't imagine how the Whitecaps could carry Robson and Chiumiento in the same eleven. No doubt he'll be asked to hang back more than he does at Middlesbrough, and since my article yesterday I've been told Robson's played fair defensive midfield in the past. I'm sure he was brought in to score goals, though.