On paper, he appears to be a vast improvement on Meier, who has been shown the door by the Wanderers after a dismal 12 games for the club.
The Wanderers have still not confirmed Meier’s departure but will need to axe one of their five foreigners to make way for Cox. Meier has also not responded to inquiries from the Herald.
Meier, 37, was not included in Western Sydney’s squad for Sunday’s clash with Perth Glory at Bankwest Stadium and not listed as unavailable due to injury.
The fact that recruitment moves of this magnitude are being made in the January window suggests the under-fire Babbel still has the backing of chairman Paul Lederer and has been given the opportunity to reverse Western Sydney’s fortunes.
The Wanderers will welcome Perth Glory to Bankwest Stadium having lost six of their last eight games. The Glory, coached by foundation Western Sydney boss Tony Popovic, have won their last five games.
Babbel was convinced Meier was the missing piece of the puzzle and repeatedly defended him from criticism over his meagre output in the A-League but appears to have lost patience with the man known as ‘fussballgott’ back in Germany.
His signing was trumpeted as a major coup when it was first announced in September but Meier never looked comfortable on an A-League pitch.
He made eight starts for the Wanderers, coming off the bench four times, and scored just one goal – a cracker from distance in round two against Melbourne Victory, lobbing the ball over the head of goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas, who had ventured off his line.
It was hoped that moment was a harbinger of what was to come from Meier, but it turned out to be a false dawn.
With his lanky frame and awkward gait, Meier appeared to struggle to match the pace of the A-League, while his teammates also failed to provide him with the sort of regular service he received in Germany.
Last month, Meier told the Herald he still believed he had some good football left in him and insisted many people had written him off purely because of his age.
“What everybody thinks is, ‘Oh, he’s 37, he’s old’,” he said. “If I would have the same quality right now, the same level, and I would be 28 or 29, nobody would say anything.
“When you’re tall, when you move, everything is slower … a little bit goofy. Maybe that’s why. But I think the people who understand football know that.
“And, for me, it’s OK. Some people say I’m good, some say I’m shit – but this was all my career, with everybody. Everyone sees football differently. But I can’t and don’t even want to change anybody’s mind.
“I do everything I can and that’s all I can do. I make some pressure on myself because I still love the game, I care about the team and the club. Otherwise … if I don’t care any more, then I should stop.”
Vince is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.