FC Dallas completed one of the biggest overseas transfers in MLS history with Ricardo Pepi's club-record move to German Bundesliga side FC Augsburg earlier this month. Now, the task becomes utilizing the increased resources to meaningfully improve in 2022 and book an Audi MLS Cup Playoffs return.

Speaking at FCD's preseason media availability Tuesday alongside technical director Andre Zanotta and new head coach Nico Estevez, club president Dan Hunt said that the process of using funds from Pepi's sale to strengthen the first-team roster is well underway.

"We're taking those proceeds, and obviously it's a payment system here that most big transfers occur in, so we'll be paid out over three years, but we're taking those proceeds and immediately re-investing them in the product on the field," Hunt said. "And we're doing that in a couple different ways. We're going to do it with the cash that we're receiving, so we'll use it for transfers and we're also going to take the allocation money and put it to work right away.

"So, coupling those things together we're going to do things that are going to improve the FC Dallas roster and give Nico and his staff the group of players that are going to be able to compete. It is a process. We will add players now, we'll try to add a player or two in the summer potentially and then there will be players that you add next year and you have to think about how that works. But we have complete faith in what's going on and really excited and energized for this coming season."

Zanotta hopes that at least a couple of those signings will be finalized this preseason. That's on top of defender Nanu, who joined last week on loan from FC Porto.

"We'll continue to have this roster as complete as possible as soon as possible," Zanotta said. "We know we still need to add some important pieces to the team and those pieces will certainly help us achieve our goals this season. So the work continues and hopefully we'll be able to announce those possible new signings soon."

Pepi's departure leaves an obvious void in the final third, with the homegrown star supplying 13 goals and three assists last season during a breakout 2021 campaign that fueled widespread European interest, a US men's national team breakthrough and 2021 MLS Young Player of the Year honors.

FC Dallas have been linked to Argentine winger Alan Velasco in recent days, and while Zanotta stopped short of confirming any negotiations with the player, he spoke highly of Velasco's talent. The 19-year-old has emerged as a standout prospect in Argentina with Independiente, where he's tallied eight goals and 10 assists in 69 appearances across all competitions.

"I don't like to comment on players we haven't signed or players that we're in negotiations. But what I can tell you for any player that is talented as Alan, we'll always be interested," Zanotta said. "We want to bring high-level players, we want to bring players that can impact our team, can make the difference here, so we'll search for players of that caliber."

One bit of news FCD confirmed Tuesday was signing homegrown attacker Jesus Ferreira as a Young Designated Player through at least 2025. Another crown jewel of their heralded academy, Ferreira was a bright spot for FC Dallas during a difficult 2021, producing a career-high eight goals and providing nine assists.

Zanotta said that performance incentivized FCD to lock down the 21-year-old on a Young DP deal. He's also emerging with the USMNT as they pursue a Qatar 2022 World Cup spot.

"For me, Jesus, what amazed me and what really impressed us in these last three years that I've been with him is how much he matured, how much he grew," said Zanotta. "Not only in his performance on the pitch, but also mentality and how much he's focused on the game now and he understands very well what he needs to do. I had many conversations with Nico throughout the process about Jesus and conversations in the past with Gregg [Berhalter] and we see the direction that Jesus is going is amazing.

"He just turned 21 now, so he has so many years ahead of him and I believe Jesus this year, we're still going to get the best of Jesus next year. It's going to be even better. So we're really excited to add those years to his contract because I think he's going to be more and more a key player for our team."