Liverpool To Allow Ryan Babel to Leave

Jon FeatonbyCorrespondent IMay 27, 2009

LIVERPOOL, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 10:  Ryan Babel of Liverpool in action during the UEFA Champions League Round of Sixteen, Second Leg match between Liverpool and Real Madrid at Anfield on March 10, 2009 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Ryan Babel could become the first high-profile player to leave Liverpool this summer.

The Daily Telegraph recently reported that manger Rafael Benitez has given the winger permission to talk to other clubs.

With Benitez keen to bring new faces to the club, it is believed that he will need to sell before he is allowed to buy. Babel would be expected to command a fee of around £11 million.

The Dutchman has made 91 appearances for Liverpool since his arrival in July 2007, although only 42 of these were as a starter.

The arrival of Albert Riera and the form of Yossi Benayoun have limited Babel's chances in recent times. His frustration over this led him to ask for a loan move back to former club Ajax during the January transfer window.

While this request was refused, recent discussions between the player's agent and the club have resulted in the player being allowed to depart.

While Ajax would be interested, the asking price could be beyond their resources. Possible Premiership suitors include Aston Villa, Tottenham and Arsenal.

Indeed a deal with Aston Villa could include a player swap due to Benitez's continued interest in midfielder Gareth Barry.