Babel set for Anfield exit
Ryan Babel is set to leave Liverpool after the club announced they had accepted an undisclosed bid from Bundesliga side Hoffenheim for the Dutch striker.
Babel has been given permission to travel to Germany and discuss personal terms with his prospective new employers. He has struggled to nail down a first-team place at Anfield and was again on the bench on Sunday during the derby draw with Everton.
Babel was yesterday fined £10,000 and warned about his future conduct for posting comments and a doctored picture of referee Howard Webb on the micro-blogging site Twitter. About his lack of first-team chances, the 24-year-old said: "For a player of my age it is important to be playing week in week out."
According to Germany's Bild newspaper, the two clubs have agreed on a fee in the region of €7million and Babel is set to fill a void which has emerged in the attack this winter. "Following the departure of (Demba) Ba and the injury to (Chinedu) Obasi, we were in an emergency situation," said Hoffenheim's owner Dietmar Hopp. "Babel was one of the prime candidates who our general manager Ernst Tanner was most convinced about."
Babel could make his debut against St Pauli on Sunday, should the deal be completed in the next few days. However, the player himself earlier spoke of his hope for a loan move back to Ajax - and stated that deal could form part of Luis Suarez's potential transfer to Liverpool. Babel indicated he wanted to return to the club he left for Anfield in 2007 to get regular first-team football.
Liverpool are reported to be interested in Uruguay striker Suarez, who scored three times at the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa before his infamous sending-off for a goal-line handball in the quarter-final against Ghana.
"The transfer of Suarez to Liverpool opens the door for me to go to Ajax," Babel was quoted as saying by De Telegraaf newspaper. "If Liverpool and Ajax - whether in combination with Luis - can reach an agreement over me I will surely come to the club. For the chance to play I am willing to settle for far less pay."