The sale of the Socceroos’ 18-year-old sensation Garang Kuol to English Premier League giants Newcastle United is official.
Kuol’s long-mooted move has been confirmed for next January’s transfer window.
“It’s unreal,” Kuol told Newcastle’s website.
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“As a young boy in Australia, the Premier League is the main thing that everyone watches but nobody actually thinks they’ll reach those heights.
“To be one of those people, to be in the position I am, it’s amazing.
“Now that I’ve signed for Newcastle, I want to train hard, play hard, hopefully go to the World Cup and come back here.”
Kuol will return to the Mariners for the start of the A-League Men’s season, a derby against the Newcastle Jets on October 8.
He is also in the selection frame for Australia’s World Cup campaign in Qatar, with coach Graham Arnold due to settle a 26-man squad in mid-November.
Some reports have the Mariners pocketing a $500,000 transfer fee, with Kuol likely to be loaned to a club in Portugal if he is initially unable to secure a UK work permit.
“Garang is a very promising young talent and we are excited that he’ll be continuing his development as a Newcastle United player,” the club’s 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.”
Kuol’s deal caps a stunning rise for the Australian refugee – his family hail from Khartoum in Sudan and fled to Egypt, where Garang was born, before moving to Australia.
The attacker made his first Socceroos appearance last Sunday against New Zealand, becoming the youngest national debutant since Harry Kewell.
Kuol is yet to start an A-League game but scored four goals from nine appearances as a substitute last season.
He then produced an eye-catching cameo for the A-League All Stars against Spanish powers Barcelona in May’s exhibition match.
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