NEWCASTLE United new boy Gael Bigirimana admitted all his dreams had come true after yesterday completing a £1million move from Coventry City.
The 18-year-old Burundi-born midfielder agreed a five-year deal after completing a medical, and while he won’t be considered an immediate candidate for the first-team, he arrives on Tyneside with a big reputation.
Coventry fans are furious that their club sold Bigirimana at all, never mind for what they considered to be a steal for someone who played 26 Championship games last season and was voted Football League Apprentice of the Year.
Speaking on NUFC TV, Bigirimana said: “It’s a dream for me. Since I was a kid, I always watched the football, the Premier League and other big leagues, and I always hoped that one day I would make it.
“But I didn’t realise it would be this soon, so it’s an exciting moment in my life and a challenge which I am looking forward to.”
And he added: “I’m an all-rounder. If I have to do a job for the team, I do the job for the team.
“If I have to play as a holding player, I’ll hold, if I have to play more as a creator, I love creating and I love the style that Newcastle play. I’m a team player and to be around such good players, I will learn every day so hopefully I can break through.”
Bigirimana, who arrived in England in 2004, could well play a part in Alan Pardew’s first-team next season, as Newcastle face trying to compete at home and in the Europa League.
He joins French midfielder Romain Amalfitano as the club’s second signing of the summer; both would expect to begin their St James’ Park careers in Willie Donachie and Peter Beardsley’s development squad.
And he thanked his old club for sending him on the way to potential stardom. Bigirimana said: “Coventry was a great place for me – I couldn’t have hoped for better people to help me in my career. I really appreciate Coventry and I will always love them.
“It’s my home, because when I moved from Africa, that’s where I lived and the experience I had at Coventry, it was an amazing time. For me to move to Newcastle, which is a big, big, massive move for me, and I still can’t believe it. It’s like I am still dreaming.”
Newcastle manager Pardew would love to have had French right-back Mathieu Debuchy (pictured left) signed by now.
But his club, Lille, once again yesterday insisted the club were in no rush to sell.
The Italian media are confident the 26-year-old is going to Inter Milan, but Newcastle are refusing to give up on the £6million rated player who they have already had one bid for him turned down. Lille’s assistant director general Frederic Paquet said: “For a player to leave here, there are two conditions which have to be met.
“First, we need to have a replacement. Then we will see if the offer lives up to what we expect. Mathieu clearly has no substitute, although we are looking. We have heard that he wants to leave, but as we speak there is no replacement.
“We have received an offer, but it was not what we are looking for.”