FABRICIO COLOCCINI will have crisis talks with Alan Pardew this week and the Newcastle United manager is still hopeful that the club's inspirational captain will be at St James' Park next month.
The Magpies are expecting to boost their attacking ranks with the £10m acquisition of Marseille's Loic Remy in the next 72 hours after the French striker was given permission to head to Tyneside for talks last night.
But just as important as landing Demba Ba's replacement will be for Newcastle is trying to find a suitable conclusion to the uncertainty surrounding Coloccini's future.
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The Newcastle skipper turned in a man of the match performance to help Newcastle end a run of four straight defeats with a pretty lame goalless draw at Norwich City on Saturday.
It was an individual display which provided proof that the 30-year-old can still focus on the job after requesting to leave before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.
While he is yet to make a comment on the situation, Coloccini is believed to want to move back to Argentina to play for San Lorenzo for personal reasons and the suggestions have been that his wife is ill.
And with the Norwich fixture out of the way, Newcastle are now planning to sort the matter out internally before Reading travel to the North-East for a fixture neither side can really afford to lose this Saturday.
“We've got a meeting this week and we'll try to resolve it,” said Pardew. “Of course I think we can resolve it.
Can he be here until after January? We hope so.
“He's a class player. Class players can play through most crises. We had a crisis at Norwich in terms of our results. Players of his calibre - and Tim Krul, Yohan Cabaye - are going to get us some belief.”
Pardew, whose side have lost nine of their last 12 Premier League games, does not want to have to find a replacement for his captain. There are a number of names under consideration but all would command a fee.
Even though Newcastle would save around £60,000-a-week in wages by agreeing to let Coloccini leave for nothing, a considerable transfer fee would then have to be paid out on a replacement.
West Ham's James Tomkins is among those being talked about by Newcastle. Sam Allardyce, the Hammers boss, is in no mood to let the centre-back go on the cheap.
Allardyce, who lost James Collins with a hamstring tear at Sunderland on Saturday, said: “We have never been in a position to sell anybody and we don’t want to.
“But you never know what happens in this window because if someone offers you an unbelievable amount of money for one of your players then the owners look at that and say 'that is too much to turn down', not that that has happened at the moment.”
The goalless draw at Carrow Road highlighted once more that Newcastle's squad does not have the depth to deal with having key players ruled out.
And, even though Yohan Cabaye returned after two months out with hernia trouble, Pardew was unable to seriously tinker with his forward line when things did not got to plan in the attacking third.
Senegal striker Papiss Cisse looked lost at times and isolated, highlighting why Newcastle need to bring in at least one new striker and Remy looks like being the first.
The 26-year-old flew over to Tyneside last night after the two clubs reached an agreement in principle over his transfer. He was told at Marseille's training ground that he would not be involved in last night's Ligue 1 game with Sochaux because of developments.
“We have an agreement with Newcastle for the transfer of Remy. Loic can negotiate with them,” said Marseille president Vincent Labrune.
Now Remy – who has already turned down Queens Park Rangers and was wanted by Borussia Dortmund – will have a medical and could sign either tomorrow or Wednesday if talks later today go to plan.
The former Lyon and Nice striker, who has 17 caps for France, will be the second signing of the month following the arrival of Mathieu Debuchy from Lille. Pardew is expecting more.
“I think the situation for us is that we're pursuing not just one player but three or four and they all seem to be warming up a little bit,” said Pardew. “And they need to, because we need a bigger pool of players and we're going to try to achieve that this window.”
Newcastle expect Steven Taylor to be in contention for the visit of Reading after a hamstring injury, but Hatem Ben Arfa is still a few weeks away from recovering from a hamstring tear. Pardew said: “I think he's got a chance for Spurs (on February 9).”