While the £12 million signing of Jonjo Shelvey is making bigger headlines, fantasy Premier League managers will be well aware of his potential to be an excellent pick-up when he is a focal point of midfield. We'll be taking a deeper look into Newcastle's other January transfer, Henri Saivet, who arrived this weekend in a £4.5 million deal.
Who is Henri Saivet?
The 25 year-old Senegalese midfielder has spent his entire career in France, including the past four years with Bordeaux in Ligue 1. Extremely versatile, Saivet has been deployed primarily as an attacking midfielder, though he has also been utilized as a winger and a box-to-box central midfielder. While not the flashiest player, Saivet's game is well rounded and he has an abundance of energy that has earned him comparisons to Paris Saint-Germain and France international midfielder Blaise Matuidi.
Saivet enjoyed his best season from a production standpoint for Bordeaux in 2013-2014 when he weighed in with 6 goals and 6 assists in league play. He has struggled to reach those heights again in the past season and a half, but his name may ring a bell if you've watched Europa League football this season as he scored an excellent set piece against Liverpool in the group stages. Here's a taste of what he is capable of:
Where will Saivet line up for Newcastle?
Despite the attacking prowess on display, Steve McLaren had apparently been in contact with Saivet ahead of his signing to inform him he will be playing in a more defensive holding role. Whether that means he'll be expected to act as a true holding midfielder or function in more of the box-to-box role to which he's become accustomed remains to be seen.
If McLaren persists with what appears to be his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation, here's how the Magpies could line up moving forward:
Alternately, McLaren has been known to field two strikers on occasion, which could see Saivet and Shelvey control the engine room at the expense of Jack Colback. In any case, the arrival of both midfielders seems to spell an end to regular minutes for Vurnon Anita and Cheikh Tiote (when they're not injured, that is). Here's a potential two-striker lineup that includes both new signings:
What fantasy impact can we expect from Saivet?
We'll have to wait and see how McLaren decides to field his new midfield duo, but given his box-to-box stamina and attacking potential, the high-end of what we can expect is similar production to Yohan Cabaye, with the lower end of the range being more similar to the player he may either partner or replace in the lineup, Jack Colback. Of course, we'll all be hoping for the former, but with Shelvey likely to take the lion's share of set pieces and possibly penalties as well, it's hard to see Saivet as a potential fantasy stud.
Time will tell, and there may be occasions where Saivet is fielded further up the pitch to cover for injured or suspended players. If that's the case, he could become a much more attractive fantasy option. Until then, Shelvey and/or Georginio Wijnaldum are probably your best bets from the Newcastle midfield.