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Newcastle United completed the signing of Henri Saivet from Bordeaux in an attempt to ensure their top-flight status this season. Newcastle have had a history of dipping into Ligue 1 for recruits and once again, they’ve turned their attention to France and secured the services of Saivet, who helped the Ligue 1 club win the league in 2009.
The Senegalese international has made 178 appearances for Bordeaux in all competitions, and scored 23 goals in the process.
Earlier in his career, he showed that he was competent enough to play anywhere in the attack, mostly on the wings, but good enough to even lead the line.
His early career got hampered with injuries and the Senegalese couldn’t progress the same way many thought he would, considering he had the “next Thierry Henry” tag.
Position shift under Sagnol pays dividends
Under Willy Sagnol, he was pushed into the midfield as the manager thought that his abundance of ability, technique and skill had to be applied in a more central role. He has adapted wonderfully well to his new position and his performances in Ligue 1 have been worthy of note.
He demonstrated his form and ability to a wider audience when he put on a man of the match performance against Liverpool at Anfield in the Europa League.
The fact that he started off as an attacker means he has plenty of pace which makes him an effective mobile option in the heart of the pitch. He reads the game expertly and averages an impressive 3.9 interceptions every 90 minutes in all competitions this season.
He also tackles quickly and extremely effectively and averages 3.9 tackles every 90 minutes in the league.
One of his biggest strengths is his aerial ability, which he puts to great use in the midfield as well as in attack. Of course having brought up with the attacking education, he does look to attack whenever the opportunity presents itself, as he has the skill to break forward. However, he doesn’t forget the primary duties discharged to him.
Newcastle United have certainly got one of the best midfielders of Ligue 1 this season and the fact that they got him in the winter transfer window does speak volumes about the attraction of the English Premier League.
How will he fit in at Newcastle?
It will be interesting to see how he fits in at Newcastle. It will depend on how his new manager will choose to use him considering he can be slotted in a number of positions, which is a big boost for the struggling side. Some believe that he is going to be playing the winger role because that has been listed as his primary position in many places.
However, that’s not the role the 25-year-old has been playing lately and sure enough, Saivet confirmed to French newspaper L’Equipe that he had already talked with the former England manager that he would play in central midfield.
A signing that should enthuse Toon supporters
He will add plenty of steel in the Newcastle midfield but must be given some time to adapt. Though considering how fast the likes of Dimitri Payet, N’Golo Kante and Andre Ayew made their transitions from the French league to EPL, Newcastle fans have a reason to be enthusiastic about what Saivet can bring them.
Written by Aakriti Mehrotra
Follow Aakriti on Twitter @Aakriti1
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