Ryan Babel Joins Fulham from Besiktas, Signs Contract Until End of Season

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistJanuary 15, 2019

Ryan Babel of Holland during the UEFA Nations League A group 1 qualifying match between Germany and The Netherlands at the Veltins Arena on November 19, 2018 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

Fulham have completed the signing of former Liverpool winger Ryan Babel from Besiktas.

Fulham confirmed the move on Tuesday, as the Dutchman penned a permanent deal to the end of the 2018-19 season at Craven Cottage:

Babel, 32, said one of the key reasons he made the move is to help Fulham in their bid to avoid relegation: "My first impressions are good and I'm very excited. I definitely have faith that Fulham can stay up. That's one of the reasons that I'm here, to try and help that to happen. I'm ready to go, I'm excited and I can't wait."

The Cottagers are 19th in the Premier League table—five points from safety.

Claudio Ranieri replaced Slavisa Jokanovic as manager in November and has made improvements to Fulham's defence. They have conceded 18 goals in 10 matches under the Italian, having leaked 31 in their first 12 league games of the season.

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - JANUARY 12: Fulham manager Claudio Ranieri sends out instructions to his players during the Premier League match between Burnley FC and Fulham FC at Turf Moor on January 12, 2019 in Burnley, United Kingdom. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Im
Visionhaus/Getty Images

But the west London outfit are still struggling for goals, having scored just 20 in 22 games this term, which is the fourth-worst total in the league.

Babel could help solve that problem.

In 91 Premier League appearances with Liverpool between 2006 and 2011, he scored 12 goals and provided five assists.

That is not a fantastic record, but his goals were always valuable:

And he has been excellent in his three seasons with Besiktas, earning a recall to the Netherlands squad in 2017 after a several-year absence and starting all four of their UEFA Nations League fixtures last year.

Babel's versatility could make him a major asset for Fulham, as he is able to play anywhere across the front line, though he prefers the left flank. 

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