First Keisuke Honda, now Reza Ghoochannejhad. Is the A-League finally recognising the drawcard status of Asian footballers?
He might not have quite the same star status as the Melbourne Victory marquee, but if you think Ghoochhannejhad is a second-best solution for the Sky Blues, think again.
The 31-year-old arrives on a loan deal to the Harbour City until the end of the season, boasting excellent pedigree: 17 goals in 44 appearances for an increasingly world-class Iranian side under Carlos Quieroz.
Sydney FC boss Steve Corica said Ghoochannejhad's Asian player status under the AFC Champions League's 3+1 rule was a motivating factor in securing the loan.
“Reza is an exciting and attacking striker who will score goals and give us a different option up front,” said Head Coach Steve Corica.
“The fact he qualifies as an Asian player under the AFC Champions League three plus one ruling is going to be a huge benefit to us and vital to our challenge for the trophy.
“We’ve had our eye on him for a while and when the opportunity came up to sign him, we didn’t hesitate.
“He is an intelligent player, with a first-class attitude and an immaculate character, so he will fit into the Sydney FC culture seamlessly.
“He gives us another attacking threat up front in a hugely exciting forward line.”
Another key for Sydney will the be the added dimension Ghoochhannejhad gives the Sky Blues going forward, with the side suffering from the loss of Trent Buhagiar's speed, especially early in the campaign.
While the deal isn't permanent, APOEL's previous short patience with strikers suggests a long-term relocation could be a possibility.
Ghoochhannejhad was arguably Iran's standout player at the 2014 World Cup - as a counter-attacking outfit looked to utilise his pace and trickery on the break - becoming the first Charlton Athletic footballer to score at a World Cup.
His breakout performances earned Ghoochannejhad, who has spent the vast majority of his 13-year professional career in the Eredivisie, a few big-money moves across Asia with mixed success.
These moves and an influx of young attacking talent into the Iranian national team may have hampered Ghoochannejhad's international career. He played and scored twice in the 2015 Asian Cup, but didn't play at the 2018 World Cup despite making the squad.
However, he arrives at Sydney FC having scored 29 goals in his last 77 league appearances across the Eredivisie and Cyprus, for SC Herenveen and Champions League regulars APOEL respectively.
“I’m excited to be joining Sydney FC and looking forward to the challenge of the Hyundai A-League and AFC Champions League,” Ghoochannejhad said.
“To be joining Australia’s most successful club is a fantastic move for me, and to test myself against the best in Australia and Asia will be an unbelievable experience.
“Sydney FC’s record in recent times is phenomenal and they have some fantastic players.
“I can’t wait to link up with my new team-mates, help them add to their success and bring more trophies to the club.”