GARANG KUOL is set to complete a medical with Newcastle United in the next couple of days after completing his international commitments with Australia.
As revealed in The Northern Echo earlier this month, the Magpies have agreed a deal to sign Kuol from Australian A-League side Central Coast Mariners, with the move set to be officially ratified when the transfer window formally reopens at the start of January.
The attacking midfielder has a buyout clause in his current contract in Australia, which Newcastle are understood to have triggered.
While he will meet Newcastle officials on Tyneside to undergo a medical and finalise personal terms, he is then set to return to Australia and is expected to be in the Central Coast that kicks off the new A-League season against Newcastle Jets a week on Saturday.
Kuol, who celebrated his 18th birthday earlier this week, made his senior international debut in Australia’s 2-0 win over New Zealand at the weekend.
He is regarded as one of the brightest talents to have emerged Down Under in a number of years, and is set to secure a place in Socceroos head coach Graham Arnold’s squad for this winter’s World Cup in Qatar.
While he only made his senior A-League debut earlier this year, Newcastle have moved quickly to secure his signature and are understood to have offered the teenager a four-year deal.
Although his transfer should go through at the start of January, the Magpies are preparing to send him on loan to a European side based on the continent for the second half of this season.
That will enable him to gain experience of European football, and will also enable Newcastle to circumvent any issues over a work permit enabling him to play in England. His work-permit situation is yet to be clarified, although his prospects of getting the green light to make an immediate move to England would be significantly increased if he was to be part of the Australia squad selected for the World Cup in Qatar.
Kuol is having a breakthrough season in Australia, having scored four goals in just 189 minutes of A-League action off the substitutes’ bench prior to his international call-up.
His capture represents a bold statement of Newcastle’s intent under their new sporting director, Dan Ashworth, to identify and recruit the best young talent from all over the world before the players in question become established as regular first-team players.