And why would I be? Just because pre-season is well underway for Ross County F.C. and there are only 20 players under contract at present (four of which are unlikely to see regular first team action this season)? Surely the lack of signings must be because several of the club’s targets are still competing in the World Cup and Derek Adams does not want to distract them while the tournament is going on.
But back to reality.
Reports from Dingwall are that there are 30 players currently taking part in preseason training at Victoria Park. There has been some speculation on who the “other 10” players are, but so far it has been impossible to identify any of the definitively- until now.
One of the players appears to be Gaël Bigirimana, a 20 year old midfielder currently on the books at Newcastle United F.C.. Bigirimana is a native of Burundi, but grew up in England and as recently as last year saw action with the English U20 national team. He joined Coventry City F.C. as a 12 year old in 2005 and would eventually debut for the senior side as an 18 year old, appearing for the League One club 26 times during the 2011-2012 season. His play was good enough to win the “Championship Apprentice of the Year Award” in 2012 and to gain him a five year contract with Newcastle United starting in the 2012-2013 season.
He has played in only 13 Premier League matches since joining the club, but in that short time he has become the first Burundian to score in the Premier League, played in the Europa League, played in domestic cup matches, and captained the club’s U21 side. Unfortunately, in the last 18 months or an injury and a dip in form have taken some of the early shine off of his professional prospects. Or have they?
There have also been numerous suggestions in both the Newcastle-based media and among Newcastle supporters that Bigirimana’s problems may have more to do with Alan Pardew’s- and where have we heard this before- “idiosyncratic” managerial style and the hard-to-explain presence and influence of Joe Kinnear as the club’s Director of Football (he resigned from this position in February). Bigirimana has been under the spotlight since joining Newcastle because, in reaching the Premier League his fairly seemed to have come true- a young man and his family flee war-torn Burundi, find things not much better in Uganda, come to England, Gaël earns himself a trial by basically knocking on the door at Coventry while out on an errand for his mother, etc., so when his progress came to a curious halt at the club, it set tongues to wagging. Nobody questions his ability, his character, or his professionalism, and yet, here we are…
All in all this would seem to make the young man a perfect loan target for Ross County! I say loan because Newcastle paid Coventry £1m for him and he has three years left on his contract- they’ll want to either see him reach his potential and/or sell him on for as little a loss as possible and even under those circumstances County won’t be in the running financially.
I’d like to see him join County if only to explain this picture: