Newcastle United defender Fabricio Coloccini has reportedly walked out of the club, according to the Independent, after negotiations over a January transfer to San Lorenzo broke down. The 31-year-old centre-back is Alan Pardew's captain and, until recently, was believed to be very happy to stay on at St James' Park.
However, the former Deportivo La Coruna and AC Milan defender dropped something of a bombshell earlier this month, when he told Newcastle officials he wanted to return home to Argentina and deal with unspecified "personal" problems.
San Lorenzo, an Argentine club in the country's Primera Division, have been heavily linked with Coloccini but club president Matias Lammens has repeatedly stated his club does not have the funds to offer the Magpies a transfer fee. In addition, Coloccini's £60,000 per week contract in England is also believed to be well outside San Lorenzo's budget, although that appears to be less of a problem.
"We are going to offer him a good contract... But Coloccini has to end his contract. We can't buy his transfer in no way. He has been chosen as the best defender of the Premier League, he is an elite player," Lammens told TyC Sports last week.
It now appears that talks between the player and the two clubs have broken down, with the Independent quoting a statement from the club's Web site:
"Finally, after long negotiations, we announce that Fabricio Coloccini will not join the roster of San Lorenzo. It is not possible to release the Newcastle player, and therefore the club will look for another alternative to strengthen the defence."
The Independent's report also adds Coloccini has left Tyneside for Argentina, after telling officials he will not play another game for the club. Newcastle are struggling in the Premier League this season and are 16th with only 21 points from 23 games, with relegation a very real threat.
Pardew has already lost Senegal striker Demba Ba (to Chelsea) this month and the loss of Coloccini, one way or the other, will not help. There have been new singings - the French pair of Yoan Gouffran and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa have arrived over the past 24 hours - but it remains to be seen if the saga involving their captain has a knock-on effect for the rest of the season.
The Magpies will next play Aston Villa, at Villa Park, in 29 January. And it is unclear, at this stage, if Coloccini will be involved in the fixture.