TRANSFER TRACKER STATUS: Signing

The roster build for 2023 MLS expansion side St. Louis CITY SC has continued with forward João Klauss as their first-ever Designated Player, the club announced Thursday.

The 25-year-old Brazilian is currently on loan at Sint-Truidense V.V in Belgium from German Bundesliga club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. He will join St. Louis in July 2022 on a three-and-a-half-year deal with an additional option year.

Klauss previously joined Hoffenheim when STL CITY sporting director Lutz Pfannenstiel worked at the club.

“Klauss is a player I have known since a very young age and I continued following his career,” Pfannenstiel said in a release. “In fact, Hoffenheim director of football Alexander Rosen and I played a major role in bringing him to Germany when I was at Hoffenheim. He has tremendous capacity to score and create chances for his teammates. Those attributes will surely help our team. His prime is ahead of him, and we are excited to help him maximize his potential.”

Klauss has made 10 first-team appearances for Hoffenheim, spending most of the last half-decade on loan.

Prior stops include Finnish top-flight club HJK Helsinki, where he helped them to the Veikkausliiga Championship and finished as the league’s top scorer (21 goals). Then he scored 24 goals across all competitions with Austrian club Linzer ASK (LASK).

Destinations in Belgium include Standard Liège and Sint-Truidense V.V., giving him seven goals in 37 matches in the Belgian Pro League.

“As a coach, it’s always good to have a quality striker on your team and Klauss is a player that is also willing to do the dirty work defensively,” STL CITY head coach Bradley Carnell said in a release. “We are excited to welcome Klauss to St. Louis and help make this city his home.”

This is St. Louis CITY’s third signing, with Bosnian national team left back Selmir Pidro and ​​Czech Republic youth international midfielder Tomáš Ostrák also en route when they become MLS’ 29th team in 2023.