GCU sign Beekmans

Gold Coast United may have missed the boat on Bas van den Brink but the Perth-bound Dutchman has given his old club a farewell present with the recommendation of new signing, Paul Beekmans.

Gold Coast United may have missed the boat on Bas van den Brink but the Perth-bound Dutchman has given his old club a farewell present with the recommendation of new signing, Paul Beekmans.

Twenty nine-year-old Beekmans joins United from Jupiler League outfit SC Cambuur-Beekmans and looks an impressive capture on paper, having played nearly 200 games in the top two divisions in the Netherlands between 2002 and 2008.

Standing at 191cm, Beekmans is an imposing figure and will add much-needed physicality and experience to a Gold Coast side that has lost defensive lynchpins van den Brink and Dino Djulbic and turned its focus to developing its two-time National Youth League champion squad into first-team footballers.

But significantly, he comes with high praise from former fan favourite van den Brink, who made his shift to Perth Glory official on Tuesday.

Such is his attachment to United, van den Brink has kept in nearly daily contact with Gold Coast coach Miron Bleiberg even after his move to Western Australia became apparent.

When Bleiberg asked van den Brink his thoughts on Beekmans as a potential signing, he gave him his seal of approval - even conceding that Beekmans is a just as good a player as himself, if not better.

"Bas wanted to come back to us but by the time we negotiated with him, Perth came along and unfortunately for us offered him much better terms," Bleiberg said.

"He's still in almost daily touch with me but he was kind enough to recommend Paul Beekmans to us. According to Bas himself he is as good, if not better than he is so hopefully we benefit."

Bleiberg pointed towards Beekmans' consistent playing time in Holland and his lack of previous injuries as proof that he will become an integral part of his squad this season.

"If you look at his history he has played more than 30 games every season, for the past 10 years - since he was 19. That shows you consistency and a good injury record," he said.

"He is an extremely powerful player and can play not only as a midfielder but as a centre-back. That's another advantage because I like to switch things around tactically."

The signing of Beekmans comes a day after United's first training match of the pre-season, an easy 4-1 win over Gold Coast Premier League side Merrimac.

Most of United's first-team stars were rested but the likes of Robson, Tahj Minniecon and James Brown all impressed in a makeshift XI filled out with youth team players and trialists.

Merrimac were stubborn in their resistance but goals to pacy striker Chris Harold, trialist Aman Hadid and two from Broadbeach's Tom Boland assured victory.

Another trialist, 27-year-old Belgian centre-back Denis Dasoul, played the full 90 minutes against Merrimac and looked handy at the heart of defence.

Dasoul, who previously played for Italian clubs Perugia and U.S. Foggia, has been without a professional club since 2008 but has since been plying his trade in state-level football in Australia.