In one of the strangest Newcastle United careers ever, against some admittedly pretty strong competition, Gael Bigirimana stands out as a very odd case.
Is he the ultimate Pardewed player?
Gael Bigirimana arrived at St James Park in July 2012, Newcastle spending £1m on the potential of this talented midfielder.
Opportunities came early and the 18 year old made a total of 25 first team appearances in his first season at Newcastle, including being in the first eleven for the crucial second leg of the Europa League quarter final against Benfica at St James Park.
The end of that season saw Newcastle narrowly avoid relegation but in the mad world of Mike Ashley’s ownership, the dream team of Joe Kinnear as Director of Football and Alan Pardew as Manager didn’t buy a single player in the whole of summer 2013.
Only Loic Remy belatedly arrived as a loan signing but carrying an injury.
One of the few bright spots the previous season had been Gael Bigirimana, many fans seeing him as a bit of a burgeoning Cheick Tiote but with a bit more to his game.
So fans at least looked forward to how Bigirimana would progress this coming (2013/14) season…
An almost totally reserve team was played at Morecambe on 28 August 2013, Newcastle winning 2-0 in the second round of the League Cup, Gael Bigirimana playing the full 90 minutes.
And that was that…in the following three years the midfielder never ever pulled on a first team shirt and stepped on the pitch.
Something obviously must have happened but only Alan Pardew must know for certain why a player who he gave 25 appearances to in his first season, was not worth another proper look.
Good luck at Coventry City, hopefully Gael Bigirimana hasn’t been permanently Pardewed…
Newcastle United Official Statement Friday 26 August:
‘Newcastle United midfielder Gael Bigirimana has rejoined League One side Coventry City on a permanent deal.
The 22-year-old Burundi international originally moved to the Magpies from the Sky Blues in July 2012 and also had a loan spell back at the Ricoh Arena last season.
Bigirimana made 25 appearances for United in all competitions during his four years on Tyneside but hasn’t featured for the first team since a League Cup tie at Morecambe in August 2013.
Everyone at Newcastle United wishes Gael all the best for his future at Coventry.’