FABRICIO Coloccini will return to Newcastle United’s first-team this weekend amid claims from Argentinian side San Lorenzo that they want to push through a deal for the Magpies skipper sooner rather than later.
The United skipper has been passed fit to return to the Newcastle side which jets out to East Anglia tomorrow, and his presence and authority will be needed as the club faces another massive test of their survival mettle.
But there is a distraction looming over the horizon, with San Lorenzo continuing to talk up the chances of Coloccini (pictured right) making an emotional homecoming.
With the skipper having turned down interview requests since his sending-off at Anfield in the first week of November, it has been difficult to gauge his mood as Newcastle’s fortunes have tumbled. United will certainly not welcome quotes from San Lorenzo boss Juan Antonio Pizzi, who says a move for Coloccini is the club’s dream.
Coloccini’s father was quoted last week as saying that the Newcastle skipper was hankering after a return home, and former Barcelona and Spain striker Pizzi said that he was the club’s priority signing. He told reporters in Argentina it was a critical period – and that he hoped to learn more in the coming days.
“No offence to any other player but Coloccini represents something more to San Lorenzo. It would be best to make a decision soon, not to delay more,” he said.
“If we are given any hope of signing him (Coloccini), we are capable of waiting. Even if they give us a little bit of hope we will wait for him.”
It is hard to imagine any circumstances that would arise where Coloccini would be sold, not least as United begin negotiations to bring in another defender to supplement their options at the
back. But further speculation is hardly the perfect preparation for a player who needs to recover his best form.
He will at least have the presence of Mathieu Debuchy to his right on Saturday, United having moved quickly to secure the defender.
Elsewhere – and it is hardly the news that Newcastle fans want to hear – their hunt for a striker remains “ongoing”.
Derek Llambias will return to France in the next 48 hours in a bid to try to push forward a deal for Loïc Rémy, the £10million-rated striker who is at the top of the club’s hit-list.
The latest round of discussions seemed to suggest that the clubs remain apart on a valuation, while Rémy’s representatives play their cards close to their chest.
Interest from Germany has been widely touted and The Journal understands an agent has been given a mandate to find the player a Bundesliga move. But Rémy himself seems to favour joining Newcastle’s French legion. One of Newcastle’s alternatives is to move for St Etienne’s highly-rated Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who is less experienced than Rémy so represents less of a battle-ready solution.
No move for Rémy is likely before Saturday, while Marseille continue to play down talk that he will be leaving in this window.
“For a year, every transfer window, we have been talking about his departure,” Marseille coach Elie Baup told La Provence.
“But he is still there. Maybe he still will be in the summer.”
United have one or two other targets but sources discounted talk of a move for Danny Graham, who is not understood to be a priority target.
They have also rubbished talk of a move for Marseille’s diminutive winger Mathieu Valbuena, despite reports in France that United are interested.
His agent – somewhat presumptuously – told a French radio station that his client would not want to swap the Ligue 1 club for the Premier League anyway.