Newcastle United: Departure of Coloccini Could Cost Magpies Their EPL Status

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJanuary 12, 2013

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 03:  Newcastle player Fabricio Coloccini in action during the Barclays Premier League match between Newcastle United and Wigan Athletic at St James' Park on December 3, 2012 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Stu Forster/Getty Images

Newcastle United have been in the news since the January transfer window opened as they have already sold Demba Ba to Chelsea and brought in Mathieu Debuchy from Lille (via BBC Sport).

Along with the two deals, the Magpies have been linked with plenty of players, most of them coming from Ligue 1 which has become a breeding ground for potential Newcastle players since the arrival of manager Alan Pardew. 

However, the latest bit of transfer news about the club should concern fans on Tyneside the most as defender Fabricio Coloccini reportedly wants a move back to his homeland of Argentina in January (via BBC Sport).  

The club's captain is citing personal issues as the reason why he wants the sudden move back to South America. 

Since joining Newcastle from Deportivo La Coruna in 2008, Coloccini has developed into one of the best defenders roaming the pitches of England. 

Coloccini has gone through a lot since his arrival on Tyneside, with the club enduring the pains of playing under three different managers in the defender's first season, which in the end saw the Magpies relegated to the Championship. 

Instead of making a move to another league to play top-flight football, Coloccini stuck it out and helped the Magpies return to the EPL after just one season in the second flight. 

After a mid-table return to the EPL the next year, Coloccini and his Newcastle teammates soared to new heights last season with a fifth-place finish, which was enough for the club to earn a spot in the UEFA Europa League. 

The current season has not been friendly to many people on Tyneside and the departure of the club's captain could be the final blow to the survival hopes of the club. 

Coloccini and company currently sit in 15th place in the EPL table with just 20 points from 21 matches.

If the Magpies fail to get a result in their next match, they could potentially fall into the bottom three with 18th-placed Wigan Athletic just two points behind them in the table. 

One of the main causes for the club's failure to succeed this season has been a plethora of injuries to key players like Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye, but if they were to lose their rock in defense and club captain to a January transfer, it could be catastrophic. 

Coloccini provides an amount of leadership in the back four that no new or current player could replace at the moment. 

Usually, Pardew could turn to either Ryan Taylor, Steven Taylor or Coloccini's fellow countryman Jonas Gutierrez for leadership, but at the moment all three players are out injured. 

If Coloccini were to depart for his homeland in January, it would leave Pardew with Michael Williamson as his only healthy center-back. 

Other players on the roster that could play the position are the currently injured and often-booked James Perch and Davide Santon, who is also being rumored to be exiting the club very soon (via TalkSport)

That would leave Pardew with a makeshift back four of Santon, Williamson, Debuchy, and summer signing Vurnon Anita, who would be employed at left-back with Debuchy at his preferred right-back position. 

With two EPL newcomers, a wily veteran of the English game and a player whose heart may be elsewhere, the Newcastle defense is a disaster waiting to happen if Coloccini leaves. 

A potential back four of Anita, Debuchy, Santon, and Williamson is one that is asking to be exposed by opponents on a regular basis, something that cannot happen if the Magpies want to avoid the relegation battle. 

While Coloccini's exit from the Tyneside club has not been permanent, it seems as though it is something that the defender is ready to take action on. 

If he were to permanently leave the club in January, Coloccini will leave the Newcastle back four in shambles and would leave Pardew with the role of miracle worker to patch the defense together and keep the club in the EPL. 

Relegation is something that no club wants to endure, but it may be inevitable if Newcastle's club captain were to leave during the month of January. 

Follow me on Twitter, @JTansey90.


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