Gael Bigirimana With a host of our transfer targets currently prioritising the upcoming European Championships rather than deciding on any future moves, it seems appropriate that Alan Pardew focuses on strengthening the youth system.
Naturally, the fans expect Newcastle to be linked with the very best youngsters, and Coventry City’s Gael Bigirimana seems to fit the bill.
Having moved to the UK from Burundi in 2004, Bigirimana emphasised his ambitious nature by asking Coventry for a trial at the age of 12. The midfielder has since never looked back, signing his first professional contract in the summer of 2011 before making his debut in a 1-0 defeat against Leicester City last August.
Bigirimana, 18, plays as a defensive midfielder and has been compared to Chelsea’s Michael Essien, a player who at his prime is considered one of the best midfielders in the league. To be compared to a player of such a stature is a real achievement and a credit to Gael’s flourishing abilities.
The likelihood of future success is enhanced by the fact that he already has first team experience with Coventry. It is always a gamble to take in young players who are yet to break the barriers of academy and reserve team football. However, Bigirimana featured in 26 league games for The Sky Blues last season, suggesting that the step up to the top tier won’t seem so daunting for him.
With Cheick Tiote having consolidated the defensive midfield position over the past two seasons, it seems that Bigirimana is seen as more of a future first team regular. He could therefore benefit from a loan spell during his development as so many young players do.
Rumours are circulating that Newcastle have made an offer of between £500,000 and £1m for the midfielder. With Coventry suffering financially following relegation to League 1, it seems likely that this is an amount too good to refuse.
Whether Bigirimana is at St James’ Park by the 31st August remains to be seen. One thing’s for sure, Newcastle are starting to build an exciting youth system which I’m sure will contribute to the continuous rise of the club.
Current Ability: 2/5
Likelihood of signing: 4/5
Transfer value: £0.5m – £1m