North East newspapers reported Tuesday that Fabricio Coloccini has committed his future to Newcastle United. (Here's a report from The Northern Echo.) The captain's contract runs through 2016, but the last several transfer windows he has been connected to home club San Lorenzo in Argentina. He's been dealing with a "personal matter" that has caused him to miss a few games over the last two seasons, but according to him, that's no longer a concern. The fact that San Lorenzo can't pay anything close to market value has been what has kept him in Newcastle, but supporters had written off his departure this summer as inevitable. Here's Colo:
I am going to be here. I had personal problems. Sometimes it is tough. You have to decide between the problems and the work. Sometimes, it’s too difficult. Now, it’s finished and next season I will be here. I’m looking forward to improving – we all want the best for Newcastle United.
We've done our best not to contribute to gossip about Coloccini's situation, but one thing is for sure: whatever it was obviously meant something to him. Now that it's in the rearview mirror, he can focus on football. That doesn't mean that he'll necessarily return back to form after a lackluster season, which is probably why plenty of supporters have groaned about the news.
I have the opposite reaction. There will be no shortage of people calling for a complete rebuild after the dumpster fire that has been the 2014 half of the current season, and it's hard to begrudge anybody possessing that attitude. As a counterpoint, may I point you to the club down the road that purchased no less than 14 players this summer (and brought in another 4 on loan)? A turnover rate that high will almost always result in significant chemistry problems, but hey, more dressing room rift stories for everybody, right? As disappointed as anybody with a remote connection to Newcastle United has to be at this juncture, it doesn't make sense to clean house. A core group of players has to be retained. I'm certain there will be one or two (or more) players that we as fans consider vital who will leave this summer. Coloccini can't be one of them.
The defensive unit is simply too weak to handle losing one of their two consistent men in the middle. Once upon a time, Steven Taylor looked like he was headed that way, but he's constantly on the verge of a mental meltdown. Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa might come up good if he's not being played all over the formation, but it's no certainty. Colo is getting older, and has had a bad game here and there, but he is still an automatic entry on the team sheet when healthy and not in Argentina. A team looking to pull out of a prolonged skid simply cannot lose a guy like that. The ripple effect of promoting a decent depth player is strong, and there are more pressing needs for a club that may or may not be buying "one or two" players.