Fabricio Coloccini is in line to be the next manager of Newcastle United after Alan Pardew’s move to Crystal Palace neared completion.
Mike Ashley, the Newcastle owner who is currently on holiday in Barbados, is ready to turn to the long-serving Argentinian club captain and central defender to take over as his seventh manager in the seven and a half years he has been in control at St James’ Park.
Pardew is on the brink of succeeding Neil Warnock at Selhurst Park, with a compensation figure in the region of £2m having been agreed between Ashley and Steve Parish, the Crystal Palace chairman.
Coloccini joined the club for £10.3m from Deportivo La Coruña back in 2008 when Kevin Keegan was the manager. He has been captain since Kevin Nolan was sold in 2011 and has been a key figure at the club. The defender, 33 next month, has become a demonstrative leader in recent months and enjoys a close relationship with Ashley. Despite a desire to leave and return to his native Argentina in 2013 because of personal problems after his wife moved back there, he stayed and helped play a major role in keeping Newcastle in the Premier League.
He was persuaded to return to England by Ashley and the then Newcastle managing director Derek Llambias and it is believed that the possibility of succeeding Pardew was mooted during the lengthy negotiations to bring about his return. Since then his influence has grown and he played a major role in the decision to ostracise Hatem Ben Arfa at the start of pre-season when the mercurial French forward was not allowed to train with the first-team squad after two dressing-room clashes with Pardew.
Coloccini signed a new contract in 2012 that keeps him at Newcastle until 2016, but a new deal will be negotiated if he succeeds Pardew and becomes player-manager of the club. It is unclear whether he has the required coaching badges but Newcastle could look to give him a lesser title if there is a problem. He could be handed the job on an interim basis to begin with.
Ashley had stood by Pardew earlier in the season when his team were on a dire run, having picked up just one win in 15 Premier League games.
Pardew had a £5m clause inserted into the eight-year deal he signed in 2012 which meant it would cost any potential new employers that figure to end his controversial reign in the North-east. That was also the fee it would have cost Newcastle had they sacked Pardew, as they came close to doing during that awful run.
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Coloccini is a rarity even amongst dying breed of player-managers
Pardew was told earlier this month that there would not be significant funds to strengthen the Newcastle side when the transfer window opens on Thursday. That was a further blow. He had been left disappointed when the club, despite signing nine players in the summer, failed to meet his request to bring in a recognised central defender and a renowned centre-forward.
His lack of say in the transfer market – only Davide Santon, Gabriel Obertan and Rob Elliot were bought on his say-so – has been a continued issue. Ashley has relied on the chief scout Graham Carr, who, significantly, was given an eight-year deal before Pardew and his back-room staff.
Alan Pardew: Managerial highs and lows
Alan Pardew: Managerial highs and lows
1/9 Reading 1999-2003
First took charge of Reading as caretaker in 1998.
2/9 Reading 1999-2003
Got the team promoted to Division One in 2002, after finishing second in Division Two.
3/9 West Ham 2003-06
Pardew resigned from Reading after West Ham were not allowed to speak to him. Won promotion to the Premier League in 2005 via the play-offs.
4/9 West Ham 2003-06
His spell at Upton park was not without controversy, including a touchline clash with Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger in November 2006. Sacked in December 2006.
5/9 Charlton 2006-08
Unable to keep Charlton in the Premier League in 2006/07 - the first relegation of his career. Left by mutual consent in November 2008 with the club in the Championship relegation zone.
6/9 Southampton 2009-10
Won the Football League Trophy final in 2010 but was sacked five months later after reports of a disagreement between Pardew and club chairman Nicola Cortese.
7/9 Newcastle United 2010-14
Took the role at Newcastle in December 2010 after Chris Hughton was sacked.
8/9 Newcastle United 2010-14
Head-butted the Hull midfielder David Meyler during Newcastle's 4-1 win in March 2014. Would receive a seven-match ban and a £60,000 fine.
9/9 Newcastle United 2010-14
His tenure at Newcastle was blighted by abuse from the fans after Newcastle failed to continue the form that took them to fifth in 2011-12, with one local paper writing: "This was arguably the worst personal abuse a Newcastle manager has had to endure at any game" - after Newcastle won 3-0 against Cardiff in September.
Pardew is expected to take coach Andy Woodman with him to Palace but the futures of John Carver and Steve Stone remain unclear. Pardew missed training yesterday after returning to London on Sunday night after the 3-2 win over Everton, Newcastle’s first victory in five games.
He has remained a controversial figure ever since he was appointed the successor to Chris Hughton in 2010. A poll in the Tyneside newspaper The Evening Chronicle after his unveiling showed that he was the first choice of only 1.8 per cent. Yesterday the same newspaper showed that 71 per cent of fans would be happy if he took the post at Palace.
The Newcastle forward Papiss Cissé, meanwhile, who played a key part in saving Pardew’s position at St James’ Park earlier in the season, was charged yesterday with violent conduct after replays showed he had elbowed Seamus Coleman in the face during the victory over Everton.
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