Newcastle United have been rocked by the news that club captain Fabricio Coloccini has asked to leave in order to return to his native Argentina for personal reasons.
The 30-year-old was an instrumental figure in Newcastle finishing fifth last season and qualifying for European football but it seems that he is now seeking a move away from the club during the current transfer window.
The Guardian has reported that despite no formal transfer request being handed in, Coloccini has informed the club that a crisis in his personal life means that he can no longer remain at St. James' Park.
It would be a huge blow for manager Alan Pardew who is attempting to turn around the club's fortunes after a dreadful first half of the season that sees them lying in 15th place, just two points clear of the relegation zone.
Coloccini only put pen-to-paper on a new four year contract in March of last year but the problems are not said to be football related despite the player and his manager admitting that they did fall out and argue before Christmas.
The Argentinian is believed to be willing to take a significant pay-cut in order to leave the club as soon as possible and return home.
There were suggestions earlier this month that the centre-back may be looking to leave Newcastle when his father Osvaldo revealed on South American television that Argentinean club San Lorenzo were keen to sign him.
"Coloccini to San Lorenzo is our Plan A, B and C," said club president Matias Lammens. "Our transfer deadline is next week and we cannot do anything crazy with the budget, but Coloccini to San Lorenzo represents much more than football."
Coloccini's father works for the club and it seems that they could be reunited if Newcastle agree to allow the defender to leave.