Exclusive: Fabricio Coloccini set to quit Newcastle
Club captain is on his way, but Magpies agree deal for Yoan Gouffran
Fabricio Coloccini is heading out of Newcastle United after he told officials he does not want to play another game for the club.
The 31-year-old captain now plans to leave Tyneside in his desire to return home to Argentina as he bids to deal with "personal matters". Coloccini's wife is already believed to have returned home to Argentina.
Talks had taken place earlier this week between Coloccini's representatives and officials from Newcastle in a bid to broker a peace deal where the central defender would stay at St James' Park until the end of the season, at which point his position would be reassessed.
However, after extensive discussions they failed to reach agreement and now the player is set to quit.
In the background to all this was the vocal interest of the Argentinian side San Lorenzo, for whom Coloccini played on loan in the 2000-01 season. Coloccini's father Osvaldo also works at the club.
They have not been able to find the funding to buy the player from Newcastle, who are currently embroiled in a fight for their Premier League future. Coloccini's £60,000-a-week salary is way out of their budget. They were similarly unable to negotiate a transfer fee for the player.
A statement from the Argentinian club confirmed defeat in their ambitious attempts to sign the Newcastle captain.
"Finally, after long negotiations, we announce that Fabricio Coloccini will not join the roster of San Lorenzo," it read. "It is not possible to release the Newcastle player, and therefore the club will look for another alternative to strengthen the defence."
That was seen in some quarters as offering the possibility of Coloccini staying at Newcastle. However, the player, who first told club officials of his desire to quit Tyneside on 10 January, has instead reaffirmed his decision to end his four-and-a-half years at St James' Park.
Coloccini was signed for £10.3 million from Spanish side Deportivo La Coruna when Kevin Keegan was in charge in 2008. Newcastle were relegated to the Championship that season but he excelled during the following campaign when Newcastle won promotion and then established himself as one of the most cultured central defenders in the Premier League the season after.
He signed a new Newcastle contract in March 2012 and was voted into the PFA team of the year, but the last few months have been troubled for the Argentine and he now plans to return home. Coloccini does not intend to play against Aston Villa in Tuesday's crucial relegation battle at Villa Park – their next game – but Newcastle could have half a new team in place by then.
The Bordeaux forward Yoan Gouffran will be unveiled this morning after a fee was agreed between Newcastle and the Ligue 1 side. The 26-year-old has scored 12 goals in France this season and has signed a four-and-a-half year contract.
Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa is almost certain to start the game following his £6.7m move from French champions Montpellier. Mathieu Debuchy will start his third game following his £5 million switch from Lille.
Defender Massadio Haïdara is also on the brink of moving to St James' Park from Nancy and Alan Pardew's side are battling with Arsenal for the signature of the promising 19-year-old Bastia midfielder Florian Thauvin.
Yanga-Mbiwa, the 23-year-old France international with three caps for his country to his name, and had also attracted interest from Arsenal, believes he has signed for a club who can fight for a Champions League place when the influx of new players have settled.
"In the long term people talk about the top four in the Premier League but in the players we have on board, and the manager we have, we can definitely consider closing that gap," the central defender, who can also play as a full-back said.
"With the manager's ideas, we can consider the top four or top six. Looking in the longer term we can hope to challenge for the title. Why not?
"I will do everything I can to help team spirit and make sure we are acting as one from the first minute until the last. Last year at Montpellier nobody expected that we would win the league but we had the mentality and solidity to do it with a good team spirit.
"The Premier League is the biggest league in the world and one of those leagues that everybody watches. One of the reasons I came here was to find out how good I am and to fulfil one of my dreams."
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