Former Newcastle United midfielder Henri Saivet has revealed his passion for football was ‘taken away’ during his time on Tyneside.
The former Bordeaux star was a surprise signing when he joined the Magpies in a £5million in January 2016 as United looked to mount an ultimately unsuccesful battle against relegation from the Premier League.
He played no part in United’s Championship title win after spending the following season on loan with Ligue 1 club Saint-Etienne but did return to Tyneside at the end of the campaign.
He would go on to make just three appearances during the 2017/18 season, scoring his only United goal in a 3-2 win at West Ham United in December 2017.
But it was the only positive of his time at St James Park and Saivet spent time on loan at Turkish side Bursaspor before leaving United by mutual consent in the summer of 2019.
The Senegal international has returned to France with second-tier club Pau and has scored four goals in his first eight appearances for his new employers.
But he delivered a withering assessment of his time on Tyneside during a recent interview and revealed the impact it made on his outlook on the game.
He told L’Equipe: “During the summer of 2019, we agreed with the leaders of Newcastle that I would terminate the last two years of my contract. However, I played in the Africa Cup of Nations and my value increased.
“When I returned, there were only two weeks left before the end of the English transfer window. I was told that they finally preferred to sell me, and I was not registered in the list of 25 players for the league. I didn’t leave and I couldn’t play. We had reached a point of no return.
“It’s with them that I started enjoying football again. With the pros, the sessions were on the side of the group or they were putting me in defence. They’d taken away that passion from me. In the U23s, I could play in my role and train regularly.”