Stoke City have made their first move of the winter transfer window, snapping up Bayer Leverkusen defender Philipp Wollscheid on loan with a view to a permanent move.
Wollscheid, 25, joined Leverkusen from FC Nurnburg in the summer of 2012, but spent this first half of this season on loan at Bundesliga rivals 1. FSV Mainz O5, where he made five appearances.
A towering centre-back, the German earned two international caps in 2013 and was also linked with a move to West Ham United in August.
Manager Mark Hughes said on the club's official website: "Philipp is a player we've been aware of and have been tracking for some time and he will add to the competition for places in the centre of our defence.
"He's got presence, technically he is good, he has played at a high level and he has gone for big money in the past and to get a German international at relatively young age is a good deal for the club.
"He's genuinely excited about the prospect of playing in the Premier League and is confident of making a big impression as a Stoke player."
Wollscheid, whose Leverkusen contract runs until 2017, now has the second half of the Premier League season to prove to the Stoke management that he would be a worthwhile long-term investment.