The story behind the demise of former Sunderland midfielder Jack Colback at Newcastle United – and what next for the midfielder?
Newcastle United’s former Sunderland midfielder Jack Colback remains in limbo after a deadline day move away from St James’s Park failed to materialise.
The midfielder was left out of Steve Bruce’s 25-man Premier League squad last month and had been expected to depart United yesterday – with most of the major transfer windows slamming shut before midnight on Monday.
So what next for the 29-year-old – once called up to a full England squad?
Here’s a look at the options available to the player and the reasons as to why his career seems to have taken a nosedive on Tyneside.
Reasons for Colback’s appeared demise
Everything seemed to be going swimmingly for Colback when he swapped the Stadium of Light for St James’s Park in the summer of 2014.
The promising kid, a product of the Black Cats’ academy, moved to his boyhood heroes – Colback is from Killingworth, North Tyneside – and soon after was called up to an England squad. He was also one of United’s stars of the season in his first year, earning rave reviews.
Relegation was narrowly avoided that season – but the following year United were not so lucky. Where Jonas Gutierrez has saved John Carver’s blushes in 2015 – Sam Allardyce was in no mood to do his former club a favour the year after as Steve McClaren’s disastrous spell was cut short, too late for Rafa Benitez to keep United in the top flight. Allardyce and Sunderland delivering the final blow the final midweek game before the end of the season with a 3-0 victory over Everton.
Colback found himself under his fourth manager in two seasons at SJP – and despite playing the full campaign as first-choice central midfielder alongside the influential Jonjo Shelvey, a storm was brewing for the player.
Colback turned down a move to Hull City in the summer after United won the Championship to remain on Tyneside as he was thought to be part of manager Benitez’s plans. But his return to Benton saw him addressed with the news he would not be welcome to train with the first-team squad. Banished to the kids the final nail in his coffin with Benitez was his reported refusal to fill in with the first-team group.
Digging his heals, Colback remained at United, despite not being able to play for the first-team, until the January of 2017 when he was eventually sent out on loan to Nottingham Forest. He did well, but the club could not afford to match his £50,000 per week wages – a benefit of his free transfer move to United three years previous – and so another loan was agreed.
Almost 40 games and three goals saw him endear himself to the City Ground faithful last season – but again, his wage demands have proved too rich for any side in the second tier to get near.
This summer saw a carrot dangled for Colback. Bruce – a man who gave him his chance at SAFC, and made a personal trip to convince him to sign for Hull in 2016 – was given the reins after Benitez walked away from United.
A chance to impress in pre-season was taken by the player – one of the stand out performers in China. All appeared to point towards a United reprieve – but the deadline day signings of Andy Carroll and Emil Krafth put an end to his hopes of playing again for the Magpies in the Premier League.
What next for Colback?
Due to being named outside of United’s 25-man squad list by Bruce – and not moving before the end of the deadline in the top flight, Championship or most other countries, Colback’s options are sparse.
It seems likely he will sit tight at United until January. This is his final year of his deal at SJP.
But, should he fancy it, there are some windows that remain open – although, it would require a change in culture and direction.
The window in the UAE does not close until September 30, while Portugal’s runs to September 22. Even further afield Argentina’s is open until September 24 and the one in Mexico slams shut on Thursday. The A-League in Australia open their window in the winter.
RECAP: What was said when Colback swapped Wearside for Tyneside
Jack Colback on signing for NUFC: “I’m absolutely delighted. To come to the team I supported as a boy, my hometown team, will be really special for me. It was an opportunity I couldn’t let slip. If you asked fans around the world the one thing they’d like to do before they die, it would be to play for the team they support and I’ve got the chance to do that.
“I’ve only got good things to say about Sunderland, they gave me my chance and I want to thank the fans and the club for all their support. I hope they can understand the chance I’ve had here to move to my boyhood club. Now I can’t wait to pull on the black and white shirt at St James’ Park for the first time.”
What Sunderland said about the exit of Colback in 2014: “Jack is a player we have nurtured and developed through our academy system since he was eight years old.
“We gave him the opportunity to become a professional footballer and are therefore extremely disappointed in the events that have led to his departure from the club.
“This wasn’t about money – the club agreed to all of the terms demanded of us during discussions and we were always led to believe that Jack wanted to stay with us. At his and his representatives’ request, final talks were put on hold until the club secured its top flight status. To our dismay however, we were subsequently never given the chance to negotiate with him to stay.
“For him to then leave the club that has supported him throughout his formative years in such a manner, with no chance for Sunderland to recover any of the significant investment that it has made in him as a player, has left a bitter taste.”
What Alan Pardew said about signing Colback: “I’m extremely pleased to have brought Jack to Newcastle United. He’s a great passer, versatile and rarely gives the ball away. He’s also a local lad and knows exactly what playing for this club means. And at 24 years old, his best years are ahead of him so I think he’ll be a big asset to us.”
Sunderland legend Niall Quinn on Colback’s exit: “To see Newcastle get the benefit of it and the club not compensated, it's difficult.
"It hurt me. Jack would have been a prized possession of the academy and it hurts to see it happen that way. But it's the rules, it's football, so there's no ill feeling towards Jack.
"He was just becoming the player we hoped he would.
"I felt for Gus Poyet as losing Colback was a bit of a blow. I imagine it was impossible to keep him. They would have done everything to try and keep him.”