Coloccini asks to head home
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew was attempting to head off a fresh crisis after captain Fabricio Coloccini's continued presence on Tyneside was thrown into doubt.
Press Association Sport understands the 30-year-old Argentina international has not submitted a formal transfer request, but has indicated his desire to return to South America for personal reasons, although the club was not commenting on the matter on Friday.
Argentinian club San Lorenzo have set a deadline in their bid to sign the Magpies skipper. President Matias Lammens told ESPN Radio Rivadavia: "Time is running out for the signing. When you go for a class A defender, the timings are a bit different, but if in the next week we don't have a response then we will have to go for another option."
Coloccini signed a four-year contract extension last March, but he has struggled to reproduce his stunning form of last season with Newcastle under-performing as a team, while Pardew acknowledged there had been a difference of opinion between the two as the busy Christmas programme approached.
The current issue is understood not to be football-related and while delicate negotiations are under way, the former Deportivo la Coruna player's future remains uncertain ahead of his anticipated return to the squad for Saturday's Barclays Premier League trip to Norwich.
Rumours of Coloccini's unrest first surfaced when his father Osvaldo revealed San Lorenzo were keen to recruit him, but the latest development has come at a time when Newcastle least need it after last Saturday's 2-0 FA Cup third-round defeat at Brighton capped a miserable run of form.
Pardew said: "It was a difficult situation. It was a really horrible day for the players and fans and more importantly the staff, but we have to lick our wounds. We are much stronger this week and that is much better for us."
Despite more frustration in his search for a striker to replace the departed Demba Ba, Pardew has had some welcome good news with the arrival of French full-back Mathieu Debuchy and the return to fitness of Papiss Cisse and Yohan Cabaye.
Pardew knows his big names will be needed to end a dismal run of just four points from 10 away league games this season.
He added: "We are getting some senior bodies back around the team at a crucial time. We really need to get some momentum back for our fans, who we really let down last week. It is important that we give a really good account of ourselves at Norwich and start getting points on the board."