Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

There May Be No Saving Saivet - No Thanks to His PS35k Wage Bill

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

There May Be No Saving Saivet - No Thanks to His PS35k Wage Bill

Article excerpt

RAFA Benitez has several choices to make this summer with players returning to St James' Park after a season out on loan - that includes Henri Saivet.

The Senegalese international will be back for pre-season after a loan spell with Saint Etienne which came about after he failed to impress in his first six months on Tyneside.

Seen as a replacement for the late Cheick Tiote, Saivet did not make an impact on the training pitch - neither Steve McClaren nor Benitez willing to give him the chance.

Some would say that four games - 147 minutes in total - is nowhere near enough time to establish yourself in the Premier League. A Graham Carr recommendation, Saivet came with a reputation not dissimilar to that of Tiote and Yohan Cabaye, an unknown quantity but to those who had watched him.

Carr had watched him and seen what he had liked and it seemed like a perfect deal. A 26-year-old who had made a reasonable name for himself in France would be United's new enforcer.

He had established himself a central part of a Bordeaux team trying to recreate the title-winning success of 2008-09 and league cup win of the following season. Winning the French cup in 2012-13 was a start - he played 49 times that season, scoring nine goals.

The problem for Saivet was his versatility. Across the channel, he is seen more as an attacking midfielder - he started his career as a striker and injuries forced him back into the midfield role.

But he arrived on Tyneside sold as the man to replace Tiote, who had become hit and miss.

It didn't work. His lack of strength and speed not only made it difficult to keep up with the pace of the Premier League but also robbed him of the attributes that made Tiote such a great player.

It was hoped his loan deal to Saint Etienne would put him in the shop window this summer - a decent 12 months back in France and United would at least get back the PS5m they spent on him.

But as Get French Football News' Nathan Staples explains, that has not quite gone to plan. …

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