Keeping Coloccini key to Newcastle’s fortunes

Newcastle United defender Fabricio Coloccini has been the centre of speculation in recent days. With Liverpool reportedly pursuing his captain, Magpies manager Alan Pardew has been keen to dismiss any talk of parting with the Argentine, claiming talks are ongoing over a new contract for the central defender.

Having made a strong start to their Premier League campaign, under Pardew’s guidance, Newcastle looked to have ushered in a period of stability following a manic spell on and off the field in recent years, culminating in their relegation to the Championship in 2009. Promoted back to the top flight at the first attempt, the Magpies have faced further hurdles, having seen numerous departures in light of their demise in 2009, a hungrier Newcastle side built its success around a new generation. However, typical of the modern game, key figures at the club departed for new challenges, under a variety of circumstances.

In January, in the midst of the Fernando Torres transfer to Chelsea, Liverpool faced a deadline day race to replace their departing Spanish forward, the Reds turned to Newcastle forward, Andy Carroll. Having begun the season in fine form for the Magpies, with 11 goals in 19 appearances, his services were snapped up by Liverpool in a reported £35m deal, leading to further speculation as to whether Carroll expressed a desire to leave, or was ushered out of the club in an effort to cash in on their prized asset. To further add to the club’s worries, the unprecedented last-minute chain of transfers left Newcastle at the back of the queue to find a replacement forward for England international Carroll, leaving a huge void in their squad ahead of the remainder of the campaign.

In the following summer, Liverpool would again look to raid Newcastle, signing left-back Jose Enrique for an undisclosed fee, believed to be around £6m. In recent days, following stories of Coloccini’s potential departure, Pardew himself offered a tentative comment on the speculation: “Liverpool like looking at our players, don’t they? But I don’t really want to add any more than that.” In a busy summer at St. James’ Park, captain Kevin Nolan also left the club to join former Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce at West Ham United, paving the way for Coloccini’s appointment as skipper.

In recent years, Newcastle have been working hard to compensate for a disastrous period. Famed for a core of support demanding the highest level of success for their club, Newcastle have brought in a series of players who have been key to the club’s fortunes. However, many have sought greater honours elsewhere, in high-profile departures in recent transfer windows. While it may be too early to label the Magpies a ‘selling club’, it would appear that being able to resist any outside interest in the likes of Coloccini would be key to maintaining the club’s apparent progress.

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