NEWCASTLE United’s fans can play their part in persuading Fabricio Coloccini to stay at St James’s Park.
The club’s captain wants to return to his native Argentina because of what has been described by his agent as a “personal matter”.
And Coloccini will hold talks with manager Alan Pardew and Newcastle’s hierarchy this week.
The 30-year-old – who signed a new four-year contract late last season – is wanted by Argentinian club San Lorenzo, who will sign him if his United contract is “rescinded”.
Coloccini kept the skipper’s armband for Saturday’s game against Norwich City, and he rewarded Pardew by helping the club keep a clean sheet in a goalless draw.
Newcastle’s travelling fans chanted Coloccini’s name at Carrow Road.
And Pardew believes the bond between Coloccini and United’s support could influence the unsettled defender, signed for £10m from Deportivo La Coruna in the summer of 2008.
“He played very well, and the love from the fans is important for any player, particularly where we are right now,” Pardew told SportMail. “That can’t do anything but help us.”
Pardew, however, wouldn’t be drawn on reasons behind Coloccini’s keenness to leave United, though it is understood his wife is ill and has returned to Argentina.
And Coloccini – who hasn’t spoken to the media for several months – left Carrow Road without speaking to journalists.
“All I’ll say is we’re keeping that internal at this time,” said Pardew, who admitted last month that Coloccini’s performances have dipped this season.
“There’s been a lot written – most of it rubbish. I’ll speak to him this week, and hopefully come to a resolution.”
Newcastle, understandably, are unwilling to simply rip up Coloccini’s contract and watch him join San Lorenzo, who don’t have the finances to pay a fee for him.
The club is already looking to sign one centre-half in this month’s transfer window, and with United’s Premier League status at stake, the prospect of having to find a replacement for Coloccini at short notice is unpalatable.
Coloccini put his emotions to one side against Norwich, managed by Chris Hughton, the man who coaxed him into form during the club’s promotion season in 2009/10.
And Pardew was full of praise for Coloccini’s performance, with United having been far more convincing, defensively, than of late, though they were limited in their attacking ambitions.
“He is an important player in terms of calmness and assurance,” said Pardew. “I thought we looked like we did last year, if I’m honest.
“We got beat at Norwich last year, and we had no centre-halves. We had a balanced team this time. You’d like to have a bit a more offensive play.
“Nevertheless, we can say from where we have been recently it’s a massive step forward.”