Newcastle United’s Argentine Era Nears Conclusion
In 2008, Kevin Keegan… or more accurately the loathsome trio of Dennis Wise, Jeff Vetere and Tony Jiminez, snapped up three South American players (including Argentinian Newcastle players Coloccini and Gutierrez) from La Liga, rekindling a recruitment pattern that had served Sir Bobby Robson terribly.
Indeed, not since Kenny Dalglish lured Peruvian wing wizard, Nolberto Solano, to Tyneside had one of these players excelled, although Clarence Acuna was admittedly more than decent for a couple of seasons.
For that reason not too many tears were shed when the likes of Diego Gavilan, Christian Bassedas, Daniel Cordone and the woeful Fumaca were ditched shortly after arriving.
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While one of those purchases in 2008, on loan Ignacio Gonzalez, was contentious and proved to be an injury prone flop, the others were cut from a different cloth, becoming pivotal to the resurgence of the football club after relegation. Jonas Gutierrez and Fabricio Coloccini still ply their trade at Newcastle, something that may be about to change.
In late 2012 it came to light that club captain Coloccini was keen to return to Argentina for personal reasons, throwing a wrench into an already abysmal season with his desperate pleas for a release.
With his preferred club, San Lorenzo, unable to stump up any kind of fee, nor possessing players who could feasibly command a place in an exchange deal, Colo was suddenly trapped in a self-inflicted Catch 22 scenario, only to eventually be persuaded to stay put.
If there was, therefore, an air of inevitability that the 2013-14 campaign was likely to be the concluding chapter here for the curly haired Adonis, it came as more of a shock when model pro Jonas recently took a South American sabbatical using the same ‘personal reasons’ declaration from official quarters.
It all leads to one rational deduction – both South Americans be gone within the next ten months. That is more disappointing with regards to Coloccini, who has become one of the Premier League’s classiest defenders over the past few seasons, peaking in 2011-12, as he led the side to an unthinkable fifth placed finish.
Let us not, however, dismiss Jonas as an afterthought. The 30 year old has worked his socks off, whilst providing occasional flickers of light (as in 2-3 times per season.) Yes, we could have expected more after that lavish debut at Old Trafford but his evolution from inconsistent winger to inconsistent central midfielder has been a joy to watch.
Perhaps some might look at the squad and consider both our Argentines to be passé, with Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Yoan Gouffran upgrading the positions, but I for one will miss them when they’re gone. This club was more than a stepping stone for the duo, something that probably isn’t true of too many of the current squad.
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