The former Wales international signed a one-year contract extension on Monday to keep him at the east midlands club until 2011, just 12 months after being frozen out by previous manager Paul Jewell and made to train with the club's academy players. An experience that Savage claims 'broke me.'
Following a loan spell at League One club Brighton towards the end of last year, Savage even spent four days in Lebanon in November as he mulled over a move to Al Ansar.
But since Clough's appointment in January the 34-year-old has enjoyed something of a renaissance, feeling he can 'actually be Robbie Savage' for the first time since he joined Derby in January 2008.
"Nigel Clough saved my career, no question about it" said Savage.
"A year ago I thought I was heading out and I was finished.
"It ruined my life. When you're not playing and things are as bad as they were it affects everything. I didn't have time for my kids, which is wrong, my wife was getting on my nerves, just everything was ruined because football is my life.
"I was made to train with the kids, I went to Lebanon, I got a call from Paul Jewell saying Rushden & Diamonds were looking at me.
"The whole thing broke me as a person. It was horrendous. So to be sitting here now saying I have just signed a new deal is incredible. What an amazing turnaround."
Savage added: "Since the new gaffer has come in he's given me a new lease of life, just by being the way he is with me.
"He came and put his arm around me and told me that I was a decent player, and I needed that. Whether you are 17 or 34 being told that can make a huge difference.
"He gave me a chance. Obviously, if I hadn't been playing well he wouldn't have picked me, but yes he definitely saved my career and I want to repay that faith in me by finishing my career here.
"I owe this manager so much, I haven't been able to be Robbie Savage until now because under the old manager I was petrified of getting fined or fired. I wouldn't go even if a Premier League club came in for me."
Despite leaving his career, and life, in tatters, Savage insists he has no ill-feeling towards Jewell and actually thanked the former Derby boss.
"If it wasn't for Paul Jewell I would not have got the opportunity to play for this club, so I thank him really," said Savage. "Irrespective of the tough times I've been through, it has made me a better person - a stronger person.
"With me and Paul Jewell it was a clash of personalities, simple as that. But I just kept my mouth shut and my head down because I knew I would get a chance.
"What really annoyed me is that he said I was a bad influence in the dressing room, and I have never been that. That really hurt the most.
"But after going through that, look at where I am now. It has made me appreciate things so much more."