Gold Coast United followed the lead of fierce Queensland rival Brisbane Roar by landing a German import to boost its A-League title chances.
With key midfielder Jason Culina out for five games in January on Socceroos duty at the Asian Cup in Qatar, coach Miron Bleiberg has pounced to fill the void with Nurnberg central midfielder Peter Perchtold – a 26-year-old, 189cm giant who has struggled for first team game time in the Bundesliga this season.
Perchtold, who until this week counted Socceroos Dario Vidosic as a team-mate at the mid-table club, has accepted a 10-game loan stint with a view to a permanent move.
Fully aware of the influence that Roar’s creative director Thomas Broich has had on the runaway league leading side, Bleiberg did not need to be asked twice when Perchtold was offered to him.
Vidosic, who played a part in bringing Perchtold to the attention of third-placed Gold Coast via his Australian-based agent John Grimaud, believes United has made a wise choice.
After two seasons with Stuttgart, Perchtold, who is expected to make his United debut against Perth Glory at Skilled Park on January 3, switched to Nurnberg last season, making 15 senior appearances.
But he hasn’t started a game for the club this campaign, not helped by a knee injury which has been fixed with minor surgery.
"Peter’s an excellent player still at the peak of his career and he can really help out the Gold Coast," Vidosic told The World Game.
"Speaking as an ex-Roar player, I’d love to see them go on to win the grand final but it would be great to see them play Gold Coast in the decider and maybe Peter can help United get there. That would be a terrific showpiece for Queensland.
"He a very strong midfielder, who is a bit like the Roar’s Erik Paartalu. He also has a great shot on him. He’s just come back from knee surgery and has looked very sharp at training. He could be very effective in the A-League.
"He’s very composed and I know he’s looking forward to coming to Australia."
Bleiberg, who is also contemplating bringing in an overseas marquee signing to up the ante for Clive Palmer’s side in the run-in to the finals, said: "We need somebody to fill the shoes of Jason because he’s a big player to lose. We believe we may have found the right person.
"It’s not quite finalised yet but it’s looking promising. If he does well, then this could turn into a permanent move."
Watford or Crystal Palace can still expect to receive £120 million ($204 million) if they are relegated from the English Premier League after just one year of top-flight football.