Fabricio Coloccini made a dramatic U-turn today when he told Alan Pardew, the Newcastle United manager, he would be prepared to stay at the club until the end of the season.
Coloccini had walked out of Newcastle's training ground on Wednesday after talks about his return to Argentina broke down.
At that point the club did not expect to see the 31-year-old, who they signed in 2008, again. He was then warned he would be sued him for £7m and his career left in ruins if he did not honour the £60,000-a-week contract he signed last year.
The captain was left in no doubt that owner Mike Ashley would use every avenue of the law to pursue him if he had effectively gone on strike by returning to Argentina, where his wife has already gone.
It appears to have led to the player's change of heart. On Thursday morning he met with Pardew to offer a compromise to stay at St James' Park, at least until May.
Prior to that, Coloccini had been immovable in his desire to return to his homeland during intense negotiations. He first announced his desire to leave on 10 January.
However, the meeting with Pardew was the start of the turnaround and the manager, buoyed by a host of signings during this transfer window, seized on the chance to keep a centre-back who was in the Professional Footballers' Association Team of the Year last season.
"Me and Colo have been on a personal journey to make sure he understands he has a big responsibility to the fans and to families at this club," said Pardew.
"We've persuaded him that as much as his family [need him] we need him too and he will see us through to the summer at least.
"We were relegated before and people lost their jobs. We need our captain and he appreciates the situation. I think he understands the responsibility he has to this club.
"People lost their jobs the last time this club was relegated, 10 or 11 people. It's not life or death if you go down, but it's life-changing for a football team. We need our captain to lead us. It is fantastic news."Reuse content