European football: Benayoun, Babel move to Liverpool

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Ryan Babel
Image: Paul Blank.

Liverpool FC have completed the signings of West Ham midfielder Yossi Benayoun and Ajax forward Ryan Babel. The combined fee is approximately 24.5 million.

These transfers raise the total to €47 million that Liverpool has spent on transfer fees this off season. Other acquisitions include Fernando Torres and Andrei Voronin.

Ajax rejected the original offer of €14.7 million for Babel, who came out of Ajax' world famous youth system. Liverpool raised the offer to about €17 million, which Ajax accepted as the transfer fee.

Liverpool has been after Benayoun for a while. They acquired him from West Ham for a fee of about €7.5 million.

Benayoun signed a contract that runs until June 2011. Liverpool coach Rafael Benitez has been watching Benayoun since his days at Racing Santander in La Liga.

Benitez went on to say "It's clear he's done this very well at West Ham. Liverpool fans will remember how he played in the (2006) FA Cup final against us when he was outstanding. We thought then this was a player who is capable of stepping up to a higher level."

Babel will sign a 5-year contract on Friday after passing a medical. He admitted that he was easily convinced that Liverpool was the right club for him after listening to what they had to say.