There were very few positives that came out of last season, but one of the few bright sparks was the emergence of the young Gael Bigirimana as a player to look out for in the future.
Bigirimana, who signed for a reported 1 million pounds from Coventry last summer, made his league debut in the 1-1 home draw against Aston Villa last season. He then went on to make 13 league appearances with one spectacular goal in the 3-0 home win against Wigan. Gael has proved to be a very capable young player, and has rarely looked out of place in a midfield that, at times, comprised of big names like Cheick Tiote, Vurnon Anita, or Yohan Cabaye.
Given that Sissoko and Anita are stepping up their claims for first team football, as well as players like Cabaye and Tiote to be considered, it would appear that Bigirimana’s first team opportunities will be at a premium and that his development would be better served by going out on loan to a Championship club. However, Bigirimana has already said that he intends to stay at the club and fight for a place in the first team.
It remains to be seen whether he will succeed in forcing himself into contention, or if he will be allowed to stay and fight it out, as the club may decide that the best option for him is to go on loan.
Whatever decision is made regarding Bigirimana’s future, we hope he can manage to get some first team football under his belt to help him progress even further, as he has proven to be among our brightest prospects out of our current crop of young players.
Personally, I think that with the vast array of options we have in the central midfield position, it would probably serve both the club, as well as Bigirimana, for him to go out on loan, even if it is only on a short term basis. However, he could surprise us all and force himself into Alan Pardew’s plans this season.
What do you think? Is Bigirimana good enough to crack the first team this season? Or is a loan best for all involved? I’d love to hear your thoughts.