Newcastle have been rocked by the request of captain Fabricio Coloccini to leave the club during the transfer window. The 30-year-old told club chiefs he wanted to return home to Argentina.
His representatives flew into Tyneside for a meeting with Newcastle officials to tell them the player no longer felt he could stay at the club and wishes to leave before the end of the month. That is a massive blow to manager Alan Pardew as he attempts to steer Newcastle away from the relegation zone.
Coloccini is the best-paid player at St James' Park on around £3m per year. However, his form has dipped recently and Coloccini's father Osvaldo has expressed his wish for his son to return home for what his agent called "personal matters."
Newcastle must now decide whether to allow the £10m signing from Deportivo La Coruna in 2008 to leave. That may depend on whether they can find a replacement before the end of the month. Coloccini signed a new four-year deal last year, but his desire now is to return home, possibly to join San Lorenzo, whom he played for in 2000/01.
Pardew has included Coloccini in his squad for Newcastle's game against Norwich, but San Lorenzo president Matias Lammens appears hopeful of securing a swift solution, having admitted they are interested.
"Coloccini to San Lorenzo is the plan A, B and C," Lammens said. "He represents much more than football – he played here for six months and was champion, his father works at the club and is a fan. The deadline is next week, but we can not do anything crazy."
Coloccini joined Newcastle in 2008 for £10.3m, with Pardew making him captain at the start of last season. But he has spoken of the difficulty his wife and family had in settling in England.
He said: "I came (to England) with my wife and my children. It was difficult for me, but more difficult for my wife. She was at home, she didn't have friends. She is one of the people who made a lot of things happen for me and sometimes I think, when I play well or I give 100pc on the pitch, it is because I am well at home." (© Independent News Service)