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Fans hope for Coloccini deal.

Byline: By ALAN OLIVER Chief Sports Writer

NEWCASTLE United have kept their supporters waiting over the proposed pounds 10m acquisition of Argentina central defender Fabricio Coloccini.

It's exactly a fortnight since The Chronicle reported that the 26- year-old Deportiva La Coruna defender was a big United target.

Sources at St James's Park claimed yesterday that Coloccini had jetted into Newcastle for a medical after the two clubs finally had a written agreement on the deal.

But there was no news from United early today on this score, leaving fans hoping that a deal could be done over the weekend.

What those fans do know is that after conceding 65 goals in the Premier League last season - only relegated duo Derby County and Reading fared worse - Kevin Keegan needs a central defender to line up alongside Steven Taylor.

And the United fans will be lifted with news coming out of Spain of Coloccini's consistency with Deportiva La Coruna in La Liga last season.

For he was the only outfield player who did not miss a single minute of action in La Liga, clocking up 3,420 minutes with a 76% success rate in tackles won and four goals - as many as Habib Beye, Taylor, Abdoulaye Faye and Claudio Cacapa managed in total in the Premier League.

And considering the amount of games he played Coloccini showed tremendous discipline with his defensive duties conceding only 18 fouls and just two in the danger area of 30 yards or less from the goal-line.

This is just what the Toon Army want to hear but what they do not want to hear are reports coming out of North London suggesting that Spurs are ready to make a pounds 12m bid for Michael Owen.

Through no fault of his own, Keegan's preparations for the new season have been far from ideal, and the visit to Old Trafford is now just eight days away. The only good news for Newcastle has been that the two Manchester United men who have caused them so much trouble in recent seasons, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney, were going to be missing.

Ronaldo is definitely out after surgery on his ankle but, after saying Rooney was going to join him after picking up a virus in Nigeria, Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson has now claimed the England striker has a good chance of facing United.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Aug 9, 2008
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