Newcastle United planning for a life without Fabricio Coloccini
by Lee Ryder, Evening Chronicle
NEWCASTLE UNITED are making swift moves in the January transfer window - in the event of Fabricio Coloccini leaving.
French sources have suggested that Magpies officials were in France again today to run the rule over a list of potential replacements for the 30-year-old defender.
The Chronicle understands though that a "personal matter" involving Coloccini's family is the ONLY reason he wants to leave the club.
The Argentine's future has been shrouded in doubt by claims from South America with his home club San Lorenzo going public on their desire to buy him out of his lucrative contract with the Magpies.
It means that Newcastle are now potentially looking at bringing in TWO centre-backs to bolster Alan Pardew's defence.
United were already looking for extra cover for their three first-team centre-backs.
Centre-backs from France, Belgium and Holland are under consideration but much depends on whether United can cajole Coloccini in the next week or so and resolve what could be an unsettling situation for all concerned.
Coloccini's exit would be a hammer blow for a defence that has already leaked 39 goals in the Premier League this term, and see United lose their leader with few options in terms of a natural replacement. The defender was leading out Newcastle as captain at Norwich City today with United keen to focus on football matters only as they find themselves engulfed in a relegation battle.
A "personal matter" involving Coloccini's family is why he wants to leave Newcastle, who are desperate for him to stay and see out his contract.
But if there is a way of negotiating his way out of his long- term deal it is believed Coloccini is prepared to leave the club he joined in 2008 in a £10m deal from Deportivo la Coruna.
Both Coloccini and United opted not to comment yesterday as a fresh round of quotes from Argentina indicated that the player wants to quit Tyneside.
United though will not panic or change their tact when it comes to bringing in players.
And suggestions that they would turn to a loan deal if Coloccini quits have been dismissed. Man City boss Roberto Mancini has already tried to ship out defender Joleon Lescott to a host of Premier League clubs, but Newcastle aren't prepared to take that route.
It is also unlikely that the Magpies will look to FC Twente defender Douglas in this window despite the player being available at a knockdown fee.
San Lorenzo have only confirmed they want Coloccini, but say that he must find a way out of his current contract and reach a settlement with Newcastle as they can't afford a transfer fee.
Matias Lammens said: "We can offer him a very good contract in the case of him rescinding, but San Lorenzo have nothing left to do with regards to the negotiating."
He also told Argentinian radio stations they want a decision by next week.
He added: "If in the next week we don't have a response then we will have to go for another option."