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Babel completes Hoffenheim switch

Ryan Babel

Liverpool forward Ryan Babel has completed his move to Hoffenheim after signing a two-and-a-half-year contract, according to the German club.

The Reds accepted a fee for the Holland international, believed to be in the region of £6million, last week but the deal appeared to be off up until late on Monday when the player flew out to finalise contract details.

"The 24-year-old striker signed on Tuesday a contract for two and a half years until June 30 2013 (plus an option for another year)," said a statement on Hoffenheim's website, www.achtzehn99.de.

"Ryan was our first-choice attacking player. He strengthens our squad also with his experience despite being only 24 years old," said coach Marco Pezzaiuoli.

Manager Ernst Tanner added on the club's website: "We are very proud to be able to sign in Ryan Babel an internationally-experienced player from a top club like Liverpool.

"We are convinced that he is a big gain for us with his character traits and his sporting qualities."

The forward, who failed to realise his potential during just over three years at Anfield, is relishing a fresh start in the Bundesliga.

"I am looking forward to my new mission in Hoffenheim," he said. "My first impressions are absolutely positive. I hope now to be able to quickly get into the team."

Babel was signed by former Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez from Ajax for £11.5million after impressing at the European Under-21 championships. His performances were infuriatingly inconsistent for fans and in 91 Barclays Premier League appearances he scored just 12 times.

Babel fared better in European football, with nine goals in 38 appearances, but his record of 22 goals in a total of 146 games was not what was expected from a player regarded as one of Holland's rising stars when he moved to England.