Newcastle United have completed the signing of Australian wonderkid Garang Kuol from A-League side Central Coast Mariners.
The Magpies have beat a number of European clubs, including Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund and Stuttgart, whom his brother Alou plays for, to the 18-year-old’s signature.
Kuol broke onto the A-League scene in December last year and is regarded as one of Australia’s hottest young prospects.
The Egyptian-born attacker made his Australia debut against Chris Wood’s New Zealand at the weekend before travelling to Tyneside to finalise his move.
Kuol has put pen to paper on a contract at St James’ Park before his transfer is made official when the January transfer window opens. United will likely loan Kuol to a European club as he does not yet qualify for a UK work permit.
Garang Kuol’s first words on signing for Newcastle
“I feel great,” Kuol told NUFCTV. I’ve finally visited this beautiful city and put this beautiful shirt on.
“I remember watching this beautiful stadium years ago and thinking ‘wow, imagine playing there’. It’s a massive stadium, with a beautiful structure to it. It’s unreal.
“The city is a one club city. There’s a lot passion and a lot to play for.
“As a young boy in Australia, the Premier League is the main thing everybody watches but no-one actually things they could reach those heights.
“To be one of those people to be in the position I’m in right now is very lucky. It’s amazing.”
Dan Ashworth reacts
“Garang is a very promising young talent and we are excited that he’ll be continuing his development as a Newcastle United player,” Newcastle sporting director Dan Ashworth said.
“Our philosophy is to invest in our Academy and in exciting young players for the future, as well as in players required to make an immediate impact in the first team.
“We wish Garang the best of luck in his remaining games with Central Coast Mariners and we hope to see him on the international stage again very soon.”
Barcelona praise and admirers at Celtic
Despite only a handful of senior appearances, Kuol was called up to the A-League All Stars squad to face Barcelona.
“He played really well,” said the Barca legend Xavi Hernandez. “He created many chances, almost scored. For only being 17-year-old, that’s unbelievable.”
Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou has also kept tabs on Kuol’s development.
“We love a next big thing, don’t we? Hopefully, he can handle that,” Postecoglou, a former Australia international, said.
“He’s a really exciting talent, an exciting young kid in terms of embracing the platform he’s got at the moment.
“Sometimes in football careers, it’s all about timing. It seems like he’s come to the fore at the right time. If he can keep progressing the way he is and get himself to a World Cup and make an impact there, who knows where he can go?”