Newcastle have started to bring in talent for the future with the signing of Coventry City midfielder Gael Bigirimana.
Having secured their place in the Europa League during the coming season, Alan Pardew’s side have set about adding youth and depth to the squad in the shape of French winger Romain Amalfitano and now Bigirimana.
The need for some backup players was high at the Sports Direct Arena, as decent stand in players like Leon Best and Danny Guthrie have departed the club in recent weeks.
Bigirimana came through the ranks at the Ricoh Arena after impressing the coaches there at the age of 12. He’s primarily a defensive midfielder and has earned some comparisons to Chelsea’s Ghanaian powerhouse Michael Essien for his style of play. He will sit in front of the back 4 in a similar way that Cheikh Tiote does, and at just 18 years old, Bigirimana has great potential.
He won the Championship’s Apprentice of the Year award last season to cement his position as one of the hottest prospects outside the Premier League, and it was only a matter of time before bigger teams started to look at the Burundi born Congolese midfielder. Newcastle have paid a reported £1m for his services but he’ll be part of a ‘development squad’ as Mike Ashley looks to add some players for the future to the squad.
I think Pardew may have found another bargain here. Bigirimana isn’t just some kid they’ve plucked from an academy – he played 26 times for Coventry this season, invaluable experience at such a young age. Considering how much kids with that sort of experience are sold for, £1m could prove to be a snip if Bigirimana reaches his potential. Could this be another canny move by Newcastle?