Alan Pardew remains hopeful of keeping Fabricio Coloccini at Newcastle after watching the Magpies captain put in an impressive display to keep Norwich at bay.
Coloccini this week asked for a transfer back to his native Argentina so he can be reunited with his wife. But the former Deportivo La Coruna man, who is wanted by San Lorenzo, showed no sign of his off-the-field troubles today, putting in a solid performance which was much to his manager's delight.
"He was excellent today,'' the Newcastle manager said. "Of the four centre-halves on the pitch he was the most assured. He gave us that calmness in the heat of battle and you need that.''
San Lorenzo hope to have the signing of Coloccini wrapped up next week, although the Argentinian club admit they cannot afford to shell out a big fee for a player Newcastle paid over £10 million for in 2008.
Pardew confirmed that Coloccini will hold a meeting with the Newcastle hierarchy next week as they attempt to hold on to their skipper until at least the end of the season. "Of course,'' Pardew said when asked whether he was hopeful of keeping the defender. We will speak to him this week and we will resolve that situation.''
Although the draw halted a run of four straight defeats, the lack of penetration up front will have concerned Pardew and the travelling hordes of Newcastle fans who made the long journey to Norfolk. Papiss Cisse played in his preferred role down the middle, but performed poorly while there was little creativity coming from Newcastle's patched up midfield.
Pardew was still happy with his team's performance, but did concede he needs to improve his squad, with Marseille hitman Loic Remy thought to be high on the Magpies manager's shortlist. "We are pursuing three or four players and they all seem to be warming up a bit,'' said the former West Ham boss, who watched his side tumble out of the FA Cup at npower Championship side Brighton last week.
"We need a bigger pool of players, but coming here today was always going to be difficult. Norwich are very efficient at set-plays and crosses, but we defended really well as a team. The work we did on the back four this week was evident.
"We were a lot tighter as a team. You could say it was a bore draw but it was definitely a step forward for us. We have repaid a little bit of the debt we had to our fans who made the trip to Brighton.''
Chris Hughton was left to reflect on a missed opportunity to put Norwich's poor festive run to bed while also getting one over on his former employers, who sacked him so harshly after just 14 months in charge.
Russell Martin clipped a post in the second half and Grant Holt went close with a header in injury time, but otherwise the Canaries lacked a cutting edge up front and their set-piece play was poor.
"There was a lack of confidence in our offensive play, possibly,'' the Norwich manager said. "We had plenty of three on two situations but we couldn't find the final ball. Our crosses were poor and that was very frustrating.''