On Wednesday, the Vancouver Whitecaps made their best move of the offseason so far.

They announced they extended star midfielder Ryan Gauld to a contract extension which lasts until the end of the 2027 season. Gauld’s contract was set to expire at the end of the upcoming season. Whitecaps fans, enjoy four more years of the Flying Scotsman.

Gauld earned a base salary of 2.4 million dollars on his previous deal. His new deal is definitely a big pay rise so he is the club’s highest earner of their MLS era. The MLS Salary Guide will be updated in the spring so a clear look at Gauld’s salary will be seen then.

From day one, the support in the city has been great,” said Gauld in the official press release. “My fiancée and I have felt welcomed by everyone in and around the club. To know that I’m going to be in Vancouver for the next four years is a good feeling. We’ve loved the time we’ve had here, and we are looking forward to what’s to come.”

Since joining the club in August of 2021, the Scottish midfielder has been an integral part of the Whitecaps. Gauld has helped the Whitecaps make the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2021 and 2023 and has helped them win the Canadian Championship in 2022 and 2023. In the 2022 edition, he won the George Gross Memorial Trophy as the tournament’s MVP.

Gauld is Vancouver’s all-time leader in goal contributions with 60 in 94 appearances across all competitions. (26 goals and 34 assists) It is fair to argue that Gauld has become the Whitecaps best player of their MLS era.

Ever since he arrived, Gauld has amazed fans with his dribbling, playmaking, goal scoring and high work rate, especially defensively.

Gauld is extended and the Whitecaps window is crystal clear

With Gauld here to stay long-term, there is no better time than for the Whitecaps to contend for the MLS Cup and more.

Gauld is currently 28 and by the time his contract ends, he will be 32. The Whitecaps also extended defensive midfielder Andrés Cubas last summer and he is signed until 2026. Cubas is currently 27 and will be 30 when his deal is up. Last summer, they also extended centre-back Ranko Veselinovic until 2026 with an option for 2027. He is currently 24 and will be 27 when his deal is up. Striker Brian White is turning 27 on February 3 and his contract runs until 2025 with an option for 2026. He will be 29 when his contract is up.

So the core is locked up and they are all in their prime. Other key players include Tristan Blackmon, Sam Adekugbe, Ali Ahmed and Pedro Vite who are 27, 29, 23 and 21 respectively.

The Whitecaps have won the Canadian Championship and the Cascadia Cup (if you count that) but there needs to be more with Gauld and this core. They have the pieces of a team that can contend for an MLS Cup, Supporters Shield and CONCACAF Champions Cup. But they need more than just Gauld and the players listed above.

Damir Kreilach and Fafà Picault are the only two players the Whitecaps brought in this offseason. They are MLS veterans and will be brought in for depth, not exactly players that make you say “wow” like Owen Wilson.

There obviously needs to be more there and the Whitecaps do look worse than the end of last season since there are areas of need to fill. You probably don’t want me to tell you why the Whitecaps need a centre-back because you probably have heard it already from myself and Nathan Durec. There is also the wing-back position. With Richie Laryea unlikely to come back, they need a starting calibre right wing-back as Ryan Raposo is the only option right now.

(Note: Simon Becher has signed with AC Horsens of Denmark so this depth chart is a bit outdated. Looks like another striker could be on the Whitecaps shopping list as well)

Gauld is the team’s star player. He is the guy to build around. The Whitecaps have a good team but Gauld needs a great team around him.

The next few years could potentially be the best era of the Whitecaps’ MLS era and their Scottish star will be the centre of it all. Gauld, being the engine of the team (hence the Flying Scotsman nickname) has his cars. But the train needs more cars to reach its destination.

Gauld is here to stay and he clearly loves being a Whitecap. They need to make his time as a Whitecap one to remember.