Liverpool snapped up the then-Dutch U21 international from Ajax in the summer of 2007, paying a fee of £11.5 million for a player who had exploded onto the scene in the Eredivisie to earn comparisons with France great Thierry Henry, as reported by The Mail.
But, bar the odd flash of brilliance and a dramatic late winner against Manchester United, Babel never really lived up to expectations at Anfield. He scored just 22 goals in 146 games and jumped at the chance to join Hoffenheim in January 2011.
Since then, Babel has played for seven different clubs in five different countries and currently finds himself stuck in the Premier League relegation zone while former employers Liverpool are top of the table with glory in their sights.
And, with the benefit of hindsight, the now-32-year-old might never have walked out of Anfield.
“I went to Liverpool at a young age and I played quite a lot in my first season,” Babel said.
“They wanted to keep me but I was out of favour with the Holland national team. With the knowledge I have today, I know that I then made a panic move to Hoffenheim.”
After forgettable spells with the likes of Al Ain, Kasimpasa and an ill-fated return to Ajax, Babel finally started to fulfil some of his vast potential at Besiktas, winning the 2017 Super Lig title and forcing his way back into the Dutch national team.
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