Newcastle United target Gael Bigirimana

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NEWCASTLE United are yet to move on their major summer transfer targets – but the Magpies are working to sign Coventry City’s Gael Bigirimana, writes MILES STARFORTH.

Midfielder Romain Amalfitano last week became Alan Pardew’s first summer signing.

However, the deal for Amalfitano was all but completed earlier in the year, and the bulk of the Tynesiders’ transfer business is unlikely to be done until after Euro 2012.

A clutch of players who are interesting United – among them Lille right-back Mathieu Debuchy – are involved in the tournament.

And any move for Twente’s Brazilian defender Douglas would have to wait until August, when he will become a Dutch citizen.

In the meantime, efforts are ongoing to strengthen the club’s development squad, which is being overhauled this summer.

It is understood that there is substance to speculation in the Midlands linking Newcastle with a move for Bigirimana, who broke into Coventry’s first team this season.

United are reported to have made a bid of between £500,000 and £1m for the highly-rated 18-year-old.

Newcastle have made no comment on the reports linking the club with Bigirimana, and City manager Andy Thorn – who had a spell at Newcastle as a player – has insisted he wants to keep him at the Ricoh Arena.

“Gael’s a good talent, but he’s still got a heck of a lot to learn, and I’d be really disappointed if he left,” said Thorn.

“I was a young lad when I went to Newcastle. They’re 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.

“He was given his chance last season. Then, like most kids breaking through, he had a little dip, and we looked after him by taking him out of the team to get him back on his game again.

“He understood and did that, and he came back strong again, so it would be a real shame if we lost him now.

“He’s very much part of my plans, and I’d love to see him continue his development with us.”

However, Thorn’s hand could be forced by the financial implications of the club’s relegation to League One.

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