Babel catching Magpies eye

Reports in the Dutch press are crediting Newcastle with an interest in Ryan Babel.

Reports in the Dutch press are crediting Newcastle with an interest in Ajax striker Ryan Babel.

Babel is one of a number of bright attacking prospects in the Dutch game and his efforts for club and country have prompted teams from around Europe to sit up and take note.

The 20-year-old's present deal runs until the summer of 2008, but Ajax are keen to thrash out a fresh commitment.

Club and player are said to have reached agreement over the length of deal and wage increase, but a stumbling block has emerged as Babel's representatives want a minimum-fee release clause inserted in the contract.

Ajax are refusing to entertain such an idea and it is being reported that this has alerted interested parties.

Newcastle boss Glenn Roeder is eager to increase quality in a number of areas and Babel is believed to have come across his radar.

Babel said recently that he would not leave Ajax this term, but it remains to be seen if an interesting offer from abroad and the wrangle over his contract prompts a change of heart.

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