Fabrico Coloccini's career at Newcastle United started on a fairly rough foot following his arrival from Deportivo la Coruña in 2008 - he was considered to have had trouble adapting to the Premier League in his first season and by all rights could have left the club (as frequently happens) following relegation. He did not, instead opting to stay with the club in the Championship. He managed to get his form sorted and became a very solid piece of the Newcastle back line in the promotion season as well as the first two seasons back in the Premier League.
Everyone was feeling pretty good about things during and following the 2011-12 Premier League campaign- repeatedly the "tremendous team spirit" of the club was lauded. Through the dip in form during the middle of the season, "tremendous team spirit". Surely, part of this was down to the leadership of Captain Colo. It's also much easier to have a loose locker room with "tremendous team spirit" when the breaks are going your way. Last season, Colo lead the line often with the strength of 10 CBs (+2), covering for mistakes by his defensive partners (Ryan Taylor at the beginning of the season, Davide Santon when he was getting his feet under him, Mike Williamson following the injury to Steven Taylor) bravely. It seemed that Newcastle were truly a club in ascendance.
The summer came and unsurprisingly minimal investment was made into the squad with qualification for the Europa League (too early, frankly) presumably giving Mike Ashley a false reading of where the squad was. Anyone taking a look at the squad closely could tell that defensive reinforcements were necessary. We were playing a dangerous game assuming that none of our defenders would be felled by injury. They, of course, would end up doing so... in multiples. Lack of investment in the squad: is that enough to convince a player that stayed through demotion to want to leave? Perhaps.
I think that it's got to be more than that. There are a number of factors that could pile upon each other to cause a player unrest - a dust-up with the manager doesn't help. Poor form across the entire team doesn't help. As easy as it is to have "tremendous team spirit" when you're exceeding expectations, it is as easy to lose it when you are underperforming relative to expectations. That could pile on. There are reports that his wife and kids "have never been able to settle in [England]"... there might have been a reason to believe this particular narrative had it been a story 3 seasons ago. Add in the fact that he just signed a new long-term contract at the end of last season... and took a pay cut to do so... and this idea doesn't seem to add up.
The pay cut. Ahh, yes. Might that have something to do with it? The genius of George Carlin taught me that people think in language. As an extension of that idea, I have felt that (applicable to this situation), when a story becomes a story is important. The very first reports of this story were at the end of December and early January - the time that Newcastle United would perhaps have been furiously negotiating with Demba Ba to try to close the escape clause in his contract. We know that Ba got a significant pay increase to go to Chelsea. Is it remotely possible that an offer was made to Ba that increased his pay above the artificial cap (the very same cap used by the club to get Colo to take a pay cut to sign an extension) instituted by Mike Ashley? We'll never know. We'll never know if the club made earnest attempts to keep Demba on Tyneside. Perhaps they took the same view as many supporters ended up taking - that our personnel was indicating a need for a less Demba-centric formation. We won't know. As it will sit, the particular timing of all of this is just a bit... peculiar.
The newest reports are saying that Fabricio has told the club that he wants to leave for "personal reasons", but has not yet turned in a transfer request. Reports are also saying that San Lorenzo are now asking Newcastle United to just tear up the extension signed by Coloccini in order to facilitate the transfer. All of this seems just a little far-fetched... but as the St. Etienne manager said earlier this week, nothing is 100%. Sometimes things move fast. Or, sometimes things are made to appear that things are moving fast when they are not:
"No offence to any other player but Coloccini represents something more to San Lorenzo," San Lorenzo coach Juan Antonio Pizzi told Fox Sports Radio Del Plata earlier this week. "It would be best to make a decision soon, not to delay more. If we are given any hope of signing him, we are capable of waiting. Even if they give us a little bit of hope we will wait for him."
The player’s father, Osvaldo, is currently a youth coach with the Argentinean club and he had earlier said: "Fabricio wants to play for San Lorenzo and he is trying his best to find an elegant way to leave Newcastle."
"If we are given any hope of signing him". We think in language. This could be a thing. It could also be a lot of hand-wringing over nothing.
How are you feeling about the Coloccini rumors? Let us know down in the comments! Also, check out our transfer hub for all of our stories related to transfer rumors, gossip and innuendo.