Mike Ashley Newcastle United's owner to look to Argentinian club captain and central defender Fabricio Coloccini
Current boss, Alan Pardew is on the brink of succeeding Neil Warnock at Selhurst Park, with a compensation figure in the region of £2m having been agreed between Ashley and Steve Parish, the Crystal Palace chairman.
Coloccini joined The Toon for £10.3m from Deportivo La Coruña back in 2008 when Kevin Keegan was the manager. He has been captain since Kevin Nolan was sold in 2011 and has been a key figure at the club. The defender, 33 next month, has become a demonstrative leader in recent months and enjoys a close relationship with Ashley. Despite a desire to leave and return to his native Argentina in 2013 because of personal problems after his wife moved back there, he stayed and helped play a major role in keeping Newcastle in the Premier League.
He was persuaded to return to England by Ashley and the then Newcastle managing director Derek Llambias and it is believed that the possibility of succeeding Pardew was mooted during the lengthy negotiations to bring about his return. Since then his influence has grown and he played a major role in the decision to ostracise Hatem Ben Arfa at the start of pre-season when the mercurial French forward was not allowed to train with the first-team squad after two dressing-room clashes with Pardew.
Coloccini signed a new contract in 2012 that keeps him at Newcastle until 2016, but a new deal will be negotiated if he succeeds Pardew and becomes player-manager of the club. It is unclear whether he has the required coaching badges but Newcastle could look to give him a lesser title if there is a problem. He could be handed the job on an interim basis to begin with. Mike Ashley, who would have to pay £5m compensation to sack Pardew, has stood by him Newcastle
Pardew had a £5m clause inserted into the eight-year deal he signed in 2012 which meant it would cost any potential new employers that figure to end his controversial reign in the North-east. That was also the fee it would have cost Newcastle had they sacked Pardew, as they came close to doing during that awful run.
Pardew was told earlier this month that there would not be significant funds to strengthen the Newcastle side when the transfer window opens on Thursday. That was a further blow. He had been left disappointed when the club, despite signing nine players in the summer, failed to meet his request to bring in a recognised central defender and a renowned centre-forward.
His lack of say in the transfer market – only Davide Santon, Gabriel Obertan and Rob Elliot were bought on his say-so – has been a continued issue. Ashley has relied on the chief scout Graham Carr, who, significantly, was given an eight-year deal before Pardew and his back-room staff.