Fulham turn to Ryan Babel in battle against relegation

Photo of Fulham turn to Ryan Babel in battle against relegation
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Ryan Babel is back in the Premier League.

The former Liverpool attacker signed for Fulham on Tuesday, ending a two-year spell with Besiktas that helped re-establish him in the Netherlands' fold.

The 32-year-old's contract with the relegation-threatened Cottagers runs until the end of the season.

"My first impressions are good and I'm very excited," said Babel, who returns to England after eight years of stints across Europe and with Al Ain in the United Arab Emirates.

"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."

Babel, a 2010 World Cup finalist and one-time Eredivisie winner with Ajax, provided 13 goals and six assists in the Super Lig for Besiktas last season. His contributions also helped the Istanbul club into the knockout rounds of the Champions League.

Fulham's biggest issue is in defense - manager Claudio Ranieri has made great strides in shoring up the backline, but it has still allowed a league-worst 49 goals this season. Finishing's been a slight concern, however, as Fulham haven't managed more than one goal in 10 straight matches. Babel's arrival should lift some of the scoring burden from the likes of Aleksandar Mitrovic and Andre Schurrle.

Babel, who's been handed the No. 12 shirt, will hope to be involved in Tottenham Hotspur's visit to Craven Cottage on Sunday.

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