Newcastle United have an agreement in principle to sign Garang Kuol from A-League side Central Coast Mariners.
The 18-year-old wonderkid has attracted interest from a number of European clubs, including Borussia Dortmund, after breaking onto the Australian football scene last season.
Kuol, in recognition for his breakout form, was called up for an exhibition match against Barcelona in May and earned huge praise from Xavi Hernandez.
“He played really well,” said the Barca legend. “He created many chances, almost scored. For only being 17-year-old, that’s unbelievable.”
Kuol recently made his Australia debut against Chris Wood’s New Zealand and is now preparing to follow in his brother Alou’s footsteps by moving to Europe.
As per Sky Sports, the Egyptian-born forward is set to sign for the Magpies when the January transfer window opens, however will likely be loaned out to another club on the continent.
That is because Kuol does not yet have the required points to be granted a work permit by the UK Home Office.
Newcastle, however, are prepared to wait for a player described as “one of the A-League’s most exciting talents in a long time.”
“He is a quiet kid off the field but most importantly does his talking on the field, is lethal in front of goal and a player who likes to go at defenders 1v1 and we saw that with the performances he produced off the bench at the back end of last season,” said Central Coast Mariners head coach Nick Montgomery.
“Garang isn’t fazed by anything and is very level-headed, which is why he made Barcelona seem like an easy assignment and in the process, being an inspiration for all kids in this country. It gave our club great pride to see him make the match his own.”
Kuol could indeed be heading to the World Cup before moving to Tyneside after earning his first Australia camp.
“He’s showed great quality and great talent,” Socceroos boss Graham Arnold explained. “I truly believe our kids have got it here in Australia and it’s just getting the opportunity. Up front is an area of the pitch where we need players.
“If you have pace and can put the ball in the back of the net ... I’m more than prepared to have a look at you.”