With Newcastle United deep in the relegation mire under Steve McClaren, the arrival of fresh blood in the form of 25-year-old Bordeaux midfielder Henri Saivet cannot come soon enough.
An experienced operator in the French top-flight, the Senegal international arrives at St James’ Park having made 178 appearances for the Ligue 1 outfit in all competitions.
Under pressure to pick up points and avoid another relegation dogfight, Saivet could yet prove to be the signing that saves the Magpies’ season – here are five reasons why.
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1. He’s handled big expectations from an early age
Having played with local side Cergy Clos in his formative teenage years, Saivet made headlines after signing his first professional contract with Bordeaux at the age of just 16.
It didn’t take him too long to settle in either, with the midfielder making his debut by the age of 17 and going on to feature regularly for the Ligue 1 side at a time when many players his age were struggling to make an impact.
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2. He’s drawn comparisons with a Premier League legend
Having burst onto the scene as a pacy winger, predominantly found marauding on the left flank, the France youth international garnered favourable comparisons with none other than Thierry Henry.
Henry first emerged on the scene as a winger on the books at AS Monaco before undergoing a special transformation, which leads us on to our next point…
3. He’s got the versatility Newcastle United need
Despite starting life on the flanks, Bordeaux manager Willy Sagnol saw something in Saivet that convinced the Girondins manager the Dakar-born star could play in a more combative central midfield role.
Saivet has since excelled as both a central midfielder or winger and is even capable of pushing further forward as a playmaker, which can only be good news for Newcastle and their injury-hit squad.
4. He’s already scored against a Premier League big boy
Linked with a whole host of Premier League clubs and plenty of additional suitors from across the continent, Saivet did his chances of securing a move to England no harm after scoring against Liverpool in the Europa League earlier this season.
Netting with a hammer-blow of a strike from a close range free-kick against the Reds, Toon fans will be hoping for more of the same this term.
5. He can perform on the biggest stages
As if scoring against Liverpool in the Europa League was not enough, Saivet has developed a knack for finding the net in the biggest games.
He scored in Bordeaux’s 3-2 Coupe de France final victory over Evian back in 2013, netted against Paris Saint-Germain in the French Super Cup final a few months later and, most recently, bagged a goal in Les Girondins’ 3-0 Coupe de la Ligue win over AS Monaco.
Premier League success should prove easy to come by.
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