The Dutch striker revealed how he was close to returning to LaLiga in 2003 after Atlético promoted. The deal fell through when Van Gaal was sacked.
Former Atlético de Madrid striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink has spoken to Sky Sports about how Louis van Gaal tried to sign him for Barcelona in 2003 only for the operation to fall through on the day he was due to sign. Hasselbaink left Atleti after the team was relegated in 2000 and almost returned to LaLiga in the winter transfer window.
Competition for Kluivert
“The salary was agreed. Van Gaal wanted me to give [Patrick] Kluivert competition at Barça”, said Hasselbaink, who was less than halfway through a four-year spell at Chelsea at the time when Van Gaal came calling. “The agreement between both clubs was settled on a Friday just before Chelsea's away meeting with Manchester United. [Claudio] Rainieri (then manager at Chelsea) asked me if I wanted to play because he knew it would be my last game.
“I took a knock to my ankle in a challenge from Phil Neville and had to go off. My ankle was inflamed but that didn't have any effect on my transfer. But later that day, Valencia beat Barcelona, 3-1 I think, and the next day Van Gaal was sacked. That put an end to my move to Barcelona”. Hasselbaink continued at Chelsea until 2004 when he left on a free transfer joining Middlesbrough after which he starred for Charlton and Cardiff.