On Tuesday 15th January 2019, the Club announced the signing of Ryan Babel on a permanent transfer from Besiktas, with the deal running until the end of the season.
A versatile attacker who is comfortable operating anywhere along the frontline, Babel already has plenty of experience of English football, having made 146 appearances for Liverpool during a three-and-a-half year stint on Merseyside.
Born in Amsterdam, Babel joined local side Ajax aged 11 and progressed through their famed academy, making his senior debut shortly after his 17th birthday when he claimed an assist in a 4-0 Eredivisie victory over ADO Den Haag.
The following season – 2004/05 – he began to really establish himself in the Ajax side, scoring seven goals in 20 top flight appearances, while he was also given his first taste of Champions League football when he started matches against Juventus and Bayern Munich.
After scoring 24 times in 111 appearances for Ajax, Babel made the move to Liverpool in the summer of 2007. He immediately became a regular for the Reds, featuring 49 times in his maiden campaign as they finished fourth in the Premier League and reached the Semi-Finals of the Champions League where he scored against Chelsea, one of 10 goals he netted that season.
Babel was heavily involved again in 2008/09 as Liverpool finished second in the league, just four points behind Manchester United, while the following campaign he helped them reach the Europa League Semi-Finals where they beaten by Atletico Madrid, kyboshing the prospect of an all-English showdown with Fulham in Hamburg.
He departed Liverpool midway through the 2010/11 season just shy of 150 appearances, during which he scored 22 times. The Bundesliga was his next destination with TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, where he played 51 times prior to rejoining Ajax 18 months later.
In his one season back with his hometown club they won the Eredivisie title, with Babel scoring four goals in 16 league outings.
A three year spell in Turkey followed with Kasimpaşa S.K. who he represented 59 times, scoring 14 goals and assisting 12, before a brief stint with Arabian Gulf League champions Al Ain.
Babel then signed a short term deal with Deportivo de la Coruna for the first half of the 2016/17 season, and he impressed with five goals in 12 matches. Deportivo were keen to extend his stay, but he opted to return to Turkey with Besiktas in January 2017.
He made an immediate impact, featuring significantly as Besiktas won the Süper Lig that year. He departs having scored 29 times in 89 outings.
When he scored on his debut for the Netherlands in March 2005, Babel became the youngest player to find the net for Holland in almost 70 years. He has now scored eight times in 54 appearances for his country, the most recent coming in a Nations League meeting with France last September.
He was part of the Netherlands squad at both the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, while he would also have appeared at Euro 2008 had it not been for an ankle injury.
|Minutes per goal||-|
|Shooting Accuracy (On Target / Off Target)||2 / 4|
|» Short (Successful)||98|
|» Long (Successful)||2|
|» Inside Box||8|
|» Ground Duels (Won)||11|
|» Aerial Duels (Won)||5|
|Fouls (Committed / Suffered)||5 / 5|