The news broke earlier this week that the Vancouver Whitecaps had signed Scottish attacking midfielder Ryan Gauld as a designated player on a contract through 2024. Gauld has moved from recently relegated SC Farense from the Portuguese League for a reported fee of €350,000.
The once Sporting Lisbon player has a new home but what should Whitecaps fans know about their newest arrival.
Ryan Gauld began his career in his native Scotland with Dundee United. During the 2011/12 season, Gauld became the youngest Dundee United player to make an appearance at 16 years and four months. He has since been surpassed but Dundee United spotted his talents from very early on. He would make fleeting appearances during the 2012/13 campaign but would truly shine just a season later.
Gauld’s impressive 2013/14 campaign would be the season that secured his move to Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon. Before his move, Gauld became a regular in the matchday squad for Dundee United making 32 appearances in the Scottish Premier League whilst helping them to an SFA Cup final. Eight goals and eleven assists at aged just 18 led many in Europe to chase his signature and his move to Lisbon was secured for a reported fee of £2.4 million.
Unfortunately, Gauld spent many of his years in Portugal away from his parent club Sporting Lisbon. The attacking midfielder would endure numerous loan spells away from the capital at clubs such as SC Farense (who would later get him permanently), Vitoria Setubal, Desportivo Aves, and even a return to Scotland via Hibernian.
After spending a few years in the Sporting Lisbon B team, Gauld made his inaugural loan move away from Lisbon by joining Vitoria Setubal for half a season. An uninspiring half-season followed with only five appearances for the former Dundee United standout and he returned to Lisbon. He would appear more for Desportivo Aves the following year before having an injury-stricken half-season with Hibernian.
However, Gauld would finally settle during his time with SC Farense. During the 2019/20 campaign, the number 10 had returned to his best by netting nine goals in 21 games ensuring SC Farense finished second and securing promotion back to the top flight. And his return to the Portuguese top flight was a successful one despite the relegation of SC Farense. 16 contributions in 33 games proved that Gauld could reach his potential in Portugal. He was even made captain during his final season with Farense before the Vancouver Whitecaps sealed the deal.
After a successful final year in Portugal, Gauld has made the move to the MLS. The Vancouver Whitecaps, in need of an attacking midfielder, may have found a star in Ryan Gauld. If the Scotsman can add much-needed consistency to partner his attacking drive, the Whitecaps have a playmaker who can unpick MLS defences.
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