NEWCASTLE UNITED have played hardball with Fabricio Coloccini and manager Alan Pardew is hopeful the unsettled captain will be on Tyneside for the rest of the season.
After a week of talks with Coloccini and his advisors the player – whose value proved too much for Argentine club San Lorenzo – is still keen on returning to South America for personal reasons.
But Newcastle have told the 31-year-old he will either have to pay up the remaining threeand- a-half years of his £7m contract to quit the club or risk being pursued for costs if he leaves without permission.
The situation is still being discussed and Pardew is not ruling out having Coloccini at the Magpies for the rest of the season at least.
The Coloccini saga has added to a hectic week on Tyneside – it was confirmed last night that Nancy full-back Massadio Haidara has signed a five-and-a-half year deal.
Toulouse midfielder Moussa Sissoko is due at St James’ this morning to undergo a medical and complete a £1.8m switch, which will take Newcastle’s January spending through the £16m barrier.
Newcastle have landed five of their six main targets this month and their new striker, Yoan Gouffran, has outlined a confidence he can make up for Demba Ba’s departure by firing Newcastle away from relegation trouble.
Gouffran was paraded in front of the media for the first time last night after signing a four-and-a-half year contract following his £1.5m move from Bordeaux.
Newcastle’s French contingent is set to increase to 11 in the shape of Sissoko and Haidara.
Haidara’s £2.5m switch was finalised last night and Sissoko was given permission to head for Tyneside after a fee was agreed with Toulouse for a player set to leave for nothing in the summer.
All four of this week’s signings – including £6.7m defender Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa – are expected to receive international clearance in time to make their debuts in Tuesday’s crucial Premier League date with fellow strugglers Aston Villa.
Following the £7.5m sale of Ba to Chelsea, Pardew could do with his new forward finding his feet quickly in the English top-flight.
Ba scored 29 goals in 57 appearances for the Magpies, while Gouffran was not so prolific for Bordeaux, scoring 40 goals in 179 outings for the club.
But the 26-year-old said: “Can I score as many as Demba Ba? Yes. I’m a centreforward.
I have proven that I can score goals in France.
“It will be different in the Premier League and it is up to me to make sure I go on the pitch and score and do everything I can to succeed in the Premier League, a different country.”
Newcastle could do with Gouffran starting with a similar return in front of goal to that of Papiss Cisse 12 months ago. He hit 13 in his first 14 appearances.
Now Cisse is set to partner the new-boy in attack and Gouffran is confident of hitting it off with the Senegal front-man.
“Papiss and I already played against each other when he was at Metz,” said Gouffran.
“He has made a lot of progress at Newcastle. He has scored some great goals. I had a chat with him this morning and we got on well. He is a great guy and I have no worries that we can get on really well and be able to play together.”
Haidara is also looking ahead to helping Newcastle pull clear of relegation.
After signing yesterday, he said: “It was the desire of the club to sign me up which was the most important factor. It was nothing to do with the league position.
“It was really all about the club’s desire and willingness to sign me up. Also, I like the club’s ambition to strengthen the whole team so we can improve our league position.
That’s what appealed to me.”
Newcastle could add one more player before the transfer window closes.
Bastia confirmed last night that there had been a “firm money offer” for striker Florian Thauvin. The 19-year-old attacking midfielder has been on the radar for months, but Newcastle have stepped up their interest.
Bastia president Pierre- Marie Geronimi also claimed that Newcastle’s £2m offer would see Thauvin – interesting Arsenal – loaned back to the French club for the rest of the season.