Members of the Sporting Kansas City front office made no secret about their intentions to bolster the club’s midfield during the summer transfer window.
That search concluded Wednesday with the additions of international veterans Jorge Claros and Martin Steuble — a pair of signings that may also protect the club should it lose captain Matt Besler to an overseas transfer. Besler said Wednesday that English soccer clubs Fulham and Sunderland are two of the teams who have shown interest in acquiring him.
Sporting Kansas City announced deals Wednesday with Claros, a Honduran midfielder, and Steuble, a Swiss-Filipino midfield. The team views both players as capable of providing an immediate impact as it fights for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
“We are always looking for players to enhance our roster,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said in a release. “Not only is the quality of Jorge and Martin high, but obviously with the injuries and things we have dealt with this season adding them will be a great benefit for the second half of the season.”
Claros, 28, is the prized addition among the two. He has appeared in 53 matches with the Honduras national team, including all three of its World Cup matches last month, when he shared the midfield with former Sporting KC player Roger Espinoza.
Most of those starts have come in the defensive midfield, a spot currently occupied in Kansas City by Lawrence Olum. Should Besler pursue his overseas opportunities, Olum could slide back to the central defense, with Claros fitting neatly in front of him. Claros will be available for selection Saturday when the team returns home to face the L.A. Galaxy.
Besler gave no indication Wednesday for which way he may be leaning and said there is no timetable for when his professional future will be determined. The interest from Sunderland, an English Premier club, and Fulham, a club relegated to the Football Championship League, doesn’t necessarily mean either team has officially offered Sporting Kansas City the required transfer fee to acquire its captain.
The team’s transfer earlier this season — defensive midfielder Uri Rosell to Sporting Clube de Portugal — likely led to Sporting Kansas City’s renewed interest in Claros, a player whom Vermes expressed interest in last summer.
“I am very happy to be here,” Claros said. “This is a big opportunity for me and I am thankful to Major League Soccer and to Sporting Kansas City. I hope to reward them for their faith in me with my play on the field.”
Steuble, 26, joins Sporting KC after a seven-year career in Switzerland, most recently with FC Wil 1900, which plays in the Swiss Challenge League. He has also appeared nine times for the Philippines national team since making his debut in March.
Steuble will join Sporting KC “in the near term,” according to the team.
“I am really excited to join Sporting KC,” Steuble said in a release. “I was there for a trial and loved what I saw. I felt good from the beginning and am honored that they offered me a contract. The team is doing very well right now, and I’m just going to do whatever I can to help.”
The transfer window closes Aug. 6.