STEVEN Taylor has pleaded with captain Fabricio Coloccini to stay at Newcastle United.
Coloccini’s keen to return to his native Argentina after five years at St James’s Park.
But United manager Alan Pardew’s hopeful the 31-year-old will commit to the club for one more season.
And Taylor, his central defensive partner, says the dressing room is also desperate for Coloccini to stay on at Newcastle, such is his influence on and off the pitch.
“The lads love playing with him, and we hope he stays,” Taylor told SportMail.
Coloccini asked to leave Newcastle in January over what were described at the time as “personal matters”.
After talks with the club’s hierarchy, he agreed stay on.
Argentinian team San Lorenzo, where Coloccini’s father is a youth coach, are keen to sign the former Deportivo La Coruna player, though there are significant financial hurdles to any deal.
The club cannot afford a transfer fee, and Coloccini would have to take a huge pay cut.
Coloccini signed a new long-term deal at United last year, and the club won’t simply rip up his contract given their substantial investment in him.
Pardew handed Coloccini the captain’s armband the season before last after Kevin Nolan’s departure to West Ham United.
And he led the team to a remarkable fifth-placed finish.
While Coloccini - who could be involved in Argentina’s summer internationals against Columbia and Ecuador - is less vocal than Nolan, he is just as influential on and off the pitch, according to Taylor.
“He’s a very quiet guy, but when he speaks, he speaks very well,” said the former England Under-21 skipper.
Taylor has built up a relationship at the back with Coloccini since his £10m move from Deportivo, with the pair’s contrasting styles complimenting each other.
And it’s a partnership that 27-year-old hopes will continue next season, when Newcastle will look to return to the top half of the Premier League after a hugely-disappointing domestic campaign.
“Colo and I have had a great partnership over the past few seasons,” said Taylor.
“We have a good understanding. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We seem to be able to mix it up. He’s very composed, and he’s not shy of a tackle as well.
“He’s been great a guy in training. You can learn a lot from him.
“I’ve got a fantastic partnership with him, and hopefully that will continue.”
Pardew signed Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa from Montpellier in January’s transfer window, and is also confident 18-year-old Remie Streete, from South Shields, will soon be ready to challenge for first-team football.
Streete was a regular at reserve-team level last season, and could be loaned out in the early part of next season.
Another United defender, 29-year-old Mike Williamson, this month insisted he wanted to stay at St James’s Park.
Williamson has been used sparingly since Yanga-Mbiwa’s arrival at Newcastle.