Newcastle United captain Fabricio Coloccini is ready to retract his transfer request and commit his future to the Magpies, according to the Mirror. The 31-year-old Argentine centre-back has been the centre of attention at St James' Park in recent days, following an unexpected demand to be released from his contract and allowed to return home, to deal with personal problems.
The South American, regarded as one of the best defenders in the Premier League, was strongly courted by Argentine Primera Division San Lorenzo. However, any transfer to the club he spent the 2000/01 season on loan with was reported dependent on an agreement between the Premier League club and the player.
Sky Sports reports San Lorenzo have confirmed they will not be able to afford a transfer fee and negotiations between Coloccini and Newcastle broke down recently, meaning there was little possibility of a transfer this month. Coloccini signed a new contract with the club in March last year and is tied to St James' Park till 2016 and the Tyneside club are understandably reluctant to lose their captain.
As a result of the stand-off, Coloccini was believed to have told Newcastle he would walk-out on the club, giving to understand he would buy out the remaining period on his contract. However, the Mirror now reports the defender has changed his views after being told the remainder of his contract is valued at £7m. The report adds that unless Coloccini returns to the club and is available for their first team, Newcastle could consider legal options.
The good news for Newcastle fans though, is that Alan Pardew has had extensive talks with the defender and it appears a compromise may be reached soon. Fans will be hoping the issue is resolved before the Premier League clash at Aston Villa on 29 January.
Malbranque Warns of French Revolution
Meanwhile, former Fulham, Tottenham and Sunderland midfielder Steed Malbranque has warned Pardew of a possible revolution at St James' Park. The 33-year-old Belgian, who graduated from academies in France, said it was possible the large numbers of French or French-speaking footballer at the Tyneside club may, consciously or unconsciously, form cliques that could have an adverse impact on the club's fortunes.
"It will be a problem, I think, because unconsciously, at the start, the French will stick with the French. If, included in that group, some of them don't speak English, they'll only remain among themselves," the Olympqiue Lyon player said, adding, "That can create clans and problems in the squad. I hope that, for their sake, it doesn't happen, but there's the risk."
Malbranque was involved in a similar situation in 2001, when he transferred to Craven Cottage under French manager Jean Tigana. At the time, other high-profile French players at the London club included Alain Goma, Sylvain Legwinski and Steve Marlet.
"At Fulham, there were never big problems, but it's true that we French players were often together. There was some tension, and when the coach was no longer French, it was different," Malbranque concluded.
The Magpies have added several new signings to their squad, including Yoan Gouffran and Moussa Sissoko, over the last few days - all of them French footballers - bringing the total in the first team to 10 players.