What Culture exclusive…
Alan Pardew is apparently on the brink of making his second summer signing, following the acquisition of French player Romain Amalfitano, after the highly-rated young Coventry City midfielder Gael Bigirimana agreed a move to the club. The player will now undergo a medical at the club tomorrow, before being unveiled before Newcastle’s pre-season campaign gets under way.
The Magpies have been credited with interest in the Burundi teenager, who broke into the Coventry first team last season and made 28 appearances on the way to picking up the Championship’s Apprentice of the Year award, all summer and have now made the move to bring the player in.
It is unclear at this stage what sort of fee would be involved to bring Bigirimana to the North East, but for the fee, Newcastle will be getting a player likened to players as impressive as Michael Essien and their own Ivorian defensive midfielder Cheick Tiote. He is an eager box-to-box midfielder who Coventry fans will be sad to see leave the club given his impact.
City boss Andy Thorn, who had an unsuccessful spell at St James’ Park himself, has previously told the Coventry Telegraph that he believes a move to Newcastle would be premature for the player, who has played U18 football for DR Congo:
“Gael’s a good talent but he’s still got a heck of a lot to learn and I’d be really disappointed if he left.
“I was a young lad when I went to Newcastle. They are a massive club and if you aren’t careful it eats you up if you go too soon, so you have to be very careful.”
Bigirimana joined Coventry reportedly after turning up on the club’s doorstep asking for a trial, and though he was initially turned away and told to join a local club to be scouted like all other Academy prospects, before being stopped by an Academy staff member who made a quick U-turn, as the player told BBC Sport recently:
“They asked if I had all the equipment, boots, shin pads and stuff like that. I said ‘yes’ but I did not. They said they saw me running fast but to tell you the truth I was jogging.
The next day they gave me a trial. It was near the end of the season but they took me on for the following campaign. It must have been a miracle.”
So, Newcastle fans – do you think Gael Bigirimana will make a good signing? Is it one for the future? Share your thoughts below.