Football: Babbel considers Newcastle offer

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BAYERN MUNICH'S international defender Markus Babbel said yesterday that he was considering joining Newcastle United next season.

Babbel, 25, said he had been approached by Newcastle. "If they are not relegated, we will talk again," he said, apparently unaware that Newcastle are now safe.

Babbel looked set to join Manchester United last year but eventually stayed with Bayern, reportedly because he refused to back down on salary demands. Babbel has appeared 28 times for Germany.

Real Betis have renewed their bid to sign the Finnish striker Jari Litmanen from Ajax, according to Spanish sources. The Seville-based side tried to sign Litmanen last season, but finally opted for the Brazilian midfielder Denilson.

The Barcelona midfielder Ivan de la Pena continues to be the centre of transfer speculation, with a Spanish newspaper yesterday linking him with a move to Milan.