UPDATE (Aug. 3) – Vancouver Whitecaps FC have signed Austrian international central midfielder Alessandro Schöpf through the 2024 MLS season with an option for 2025, the club announced Wednesday.

Schöpf, who was last with Arminia Bielefeld in the German Bundesliga, arrives via Targeted Allocation Money (TAM). He’ll occupy an international roster spot.

“Alessandro is a player we’ve been looking at for a while,” sporting director Axel Schuster said in a release. “He’s an all-around midfielder with an incredible engine, covers a lot of ground and is good in combination play. He also has plenty of experience playing in some of the top competitions in world football. We’re happy to welcome Alessandro and his family to Vancouver as they begin this next chapter.”

The 28-year-old has been capped 32 times by Austria and recorded 299 appearances at the club level while playing in Germany.

“I’m really excited to be here now and it’s a big step for me to come from European football to North America,” Schöpf said. “I hope to bring a lot of success to Vancouver and look forward to seeing all the supporters at BC Place.”

ORIGINAL (Aug. 2) – Vancouver Whitecaps FC are on the verge of signing Austrian national team midfielder Alessandro Schöpf, according to several reports Tuesday.

Schöpf is currently a free agent after last playing for Arminia Bielefeld, which is home to Atlanta United homegrown export George Bello and got relegated to Germany’s second division after the 2021-22 season.

Should the deal be finalized, as is expected, the 28-year-old would strengthen Vancouver’s central midfield alongside Andres Cubas, a Designated Player they signed in late April. The Paraguayan international was also recently in Europe, playing for French second division side Nimes.

A product of Bayern Munich’s academy, Schöpf has played in nearly 150 Bundesliga games. His longest club stint came at FC Schalke 04, while 1.FC Nuremberg, Arminia Bielefeld and FC Bayern Munich II stays included extended run-outs too.

Schöpf has six goals across 32 appearances for Austria, featuring at the European Championships in 2016 and 2020. He’s played alongside Charlotte FC defender Christian Fuchs and Orlando City SC striker Ercan Kara at the international level.

Further, Schöpf would join St. Louis CITY SC center back Joakim Nilsson as players from Arminia Bielefeld's 2021-22 squad to join MLS. Nilsson and the expansion club will begin league play in 2023.

The Whitecaps, fresh off a Canadian Championship title that booked a 2023 Concacaf Champions League spot, are 10th in the Western Conference standings. They’re just four points off the Western Conference’s Audi MLS Cup Playoffs pace with 11 regular-season games to go.