Belfast Telegraph

Coloccini on verge of becoming Newcastle's msot expensive defender

Fabricio Coloccini, Deportivo La Coruña's Argentine centre-half, appears to be about to become Kevin Keegan's third signing of the summer at Newcastle United.

The fee is unclear with Newcastle having offered a €12m (£9.5m) package initially, which was rebuffed by the president of Depor, Augusto Lendoiro, who wanted in excess of €13m. But a compromise has been reached it seems with Coloccini's agent telling Spanish radio yesterday morning: "There is an agreement between Deportivo and Newcastle."

In Majorca, at the same time, Keegan was telling Spanish television that he expected a new recruit "in the next 24 hours" and if it is Coloccini (below), and if Depor have squeezed more money from Newcastle, then the 26-year-old could become the most expensive defender in Newcastle's history. In January 2003 Bobby Robson paid £9m to Leeds United for Jonathan Woodgate.

Woodgate – injuries aside – was a reassuring presence in Newcastle's defence and Keegan, and the recruitment team of Dennis Wise and Tony Jimenez, will hope that Coloccini brings the same.

To date his career has been unusual at club level, joining Milan as a highly rated teenager but playing only one game for them in five years while being loaned out to the likes of Atletico Madrid and Villarreal in Spain. Coloccini joined Deportivo four years ago and was ever-present last season as they finished ninth in La Liga.

However, at international level Coloccini has earned 27 Argentina caps, one of them in the 2006 World Cup quarter-final against Germany in Berlin. Previously in the tournament Coloccini had been a substitute against the Netherlands. These are appearances that reveal some pedigree.

Newcastle need that – they conceded 65 goals in the League last season. Only relegated Reading and Derby let in more. Keegan's other Argentine signing, Real Mallorca's Jonas Gutierrez, was due to start his first Newcastle game last night against Hertha Berlin in Mallorca's stadium.

Belfast Telegraph


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