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Summer Transfer Window: Newcastle Sign Bigirimana, Turn Down Hoilett

COVENTRY, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15:  Lukas Jutkiewicz of Coventry City the scorer of the only goal of the game celebrates with team mate Gael Bigirimana at the final whistle during the npower Championship match between Coventry City and Nottingham Forest at The Ricoh Arena on October 15, 2011 in Coventry, England.  (Photo by David Cannon/Getty Images)
David Cannon/Getty Images
Russell HughesContributor IIIJuly 6, 2012

Newcastle United have signed Coventry youngster Gael Bigirimana to a five-year deal. The Burundi-born midfielder moved North to join the magpies after a bid of around £500,000 was accepted.

Bigirimana made 26 appearances for the Sky Blues last year in the Championship, and was awarded the Championship's Apprentice of the Year award for 2012.

Manager Andy Thorn was reluctant to let the player leave The Ricoh Arena (via the Chronicle):

"Gael’s a good talent, but he’s still got a heck of a lot to learn and I would 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.”

However the manager could not stand in the way of the move due to Coventry City's financial problems and relegation from the Championship last year.

The player is tipped for a big future, and Newcastle boss Alan Pardew moved quickly to secure the signing ahead of other clubs. Bigirimana is expected to join the Magpies' development squad. He is the second signing of the season, following the arrival of fellow midfielder Romain Amalfitano.

Bigirimana is a walking feel good story, he fled his native war-torn Burundi as a refugee in 2004, and secured a contract at Coventry after turning up at training where he was giving a trial by the coaches after the saw his blistering pace.

In other transfer news, the Evening Chronicle has reported that Newcastle have turned down the offer to sign ex-Blackburn winger Junior Hoilett. The Rovers man is a free agent after he ran down his contract with the relegated side, however his wage demands—thought to be in the region of £50,000 a week—seem to have killed off any move.

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