Whilst Rafa Benitez continues his search for players that he wants, he also continues with the apparently equally arduous task of emptying the club of players he has no use for, such as Henri Saivet.

In Rafa’s five months at St James Park, Henri Saivet has not managed to play a competitive minute of football under the Newcastle boss and wasn’t included in the 18 players named against Fulham and Huddersfield.

Sunday brought claims from L’Equipe that St.Etienne wanted to take Saivet on an initial loan and are willing to pay part of his wages, allegedly half of his Newcastle pay.

The reports say that the midfield earns 200,000 euros (approx £172,000) a month, a figure that would be way beyond what any French club could get close to, apart from PSG or any other club which qualifies for the Champions League.

St.Etienne Manager Christophe Galtier, is said to have made the Newcastle player his priority signing and United will surely be desperate to offload Henri Saivet before the transfer window closes.

Monday morning brings confirmation from St.Etienne that they do indeed want the player, with the club’s vice-president Roland Romeyer telling French media that Saivet is on their ‘short list’ of players that they want to bring in before the end of the transfer window.

Ironically, the Ligue 1 season started this weekend with Henri Saivet’s old club Bordeaux winning 3-2 against his new suitors St. Etienne.