• Newcastle captain had wanted to return to Argentina
• Alan Pardew: 'it is fantastic news for us'
Fabricio Coloccini will be staying with Newcastle United until at least the summer after the club's lawyers made it clear to the defender that he would not be allowed to leave unless he bought himself out of his lucrative contract.
Difficulties in his personal life had left the 31-year-old Newcastle captain desperate to return to Argentina but San Lorenzo, one of his former clubs, could not afford to buy a player who signed a four-year, £60,000-a-week contract only last March. Meanwhile, during four days of negotiations with Coloccini's representatives, the St James' Park board emphasised that they were not prepared to allow a centre-half valued at £7m to walk away.
Coloccini's consequent decision to soften his stance and remain on Tyneside after all has delighted Alan Pardew as his team strive to escape a relegation fight. In return, Newcastle's manager has assured him he will retain the armband and be given as much off field support as needed.
"Fabricio is going to stay with us and will remain as captain, which is fantastic news for us," Pardew said. "We have managed to persuade him that, as much as his family, we need him. He has shown fantastic loyalty to come and play and see us through to the summer at the very least. But Colo knows he has his responsibilities here; he remembers that the last time Newcastle were relegated in 2009 people working at the club lost their jobs."
Meanwhile Moussa Sissoko spent Friday finalising a £1.8m move to Newcastle from Toulouse. The much-admired 22-year-old midfielder would have been out of contract at the Ligue 1 side in the summer but was so keen to be part of Pardew's French revolution that he waived a signing-on fee at St James' Park. Sissoko, who will be Newcastle's fifth French import this month alone, joins a distinctly Gallic flavoured squad and could be on the bench at Aston Villa on Tuesday.