The Houston Dynamo on Wednesday finalized an agreement to bring English midfielder Giles Barnes to MLS.
MLSsoccer.com reported Tuesday evening that the two sides were close to a deal and things happened quickly as the two sides were able to finalize a deal to bring the player to the Dynamo. Per club and MLS policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“This is an interesting signing for us with a potential big upside,” said Dynamo president Chris Canetti. “We have a talented 24-year-old player who can play multiple positions in the middle of the field and has a lot of experience under his belt with some reputable English clubs. We’re feeling very positive about this right now and looking forward to seeing what he brings to the club.”
Barnes, 24, popped onto the Dynamo’s radar earlier this year but talks never progressed past the initial stages.
The midfielder instead re-upped with Doncaster Rovers in the English Championship, where he made 23 appearances and scored one goal during the 2011-12 season. The once highly touted youngster did not re-sign with the English side, which was relegated to League One at the end of the season, and despite interest from several Championship clubs, has decided to ply his trade in MLS with the Dynamo.
The decision to sign Barnes came after an influential two-day trial that saw the player excel in scrimmages. The two sides were able to quickly come to an agreement.
“I think [Houston head coach Dominic Kinnear] saw a player that clearly brought some very strong skill-sets to the table,” Canetti explained. “He held onto the ball well, passed the ball well and showed some burst of speed and ability to take guys one-on-one. Those were all things he liked.”
Barnes has a checkered medical history – injuries derailed his career from 2007-10 – but he has made 56 league appearances, 14 in the English Premier League, since then, and passed a physical before the deal with Houston was consummated.
Now signed, Barnes will start the process of obtaining his P-1 visa and International Transfer Certificate. During that time the midfielder, who is expected to join an impressive summer central midfield haul that includes Ricardo Clark and Boniek García, will work to improve his fitness.
The realistic expectation is for the midfielder to be available for selection Sept. 14 when Houston travel to face Sporting Kansas City. Barnes is expected to see his first action in a Sept. 7 Reserve League match against Real Salt Lake.
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.