Louis Van Gaal has hit a new hitch in his fight to persuade Barcelona to splash out on the Chelsea striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

The Champions League contenders have been linked with Van Gaal’s fellow Dutchman for most of the past year and president Joan Gaspart told Van Gaal earlier this week that the speculation would be followed through with a firm inquiry.

Now however, Barcelona’s director general, Xavier Perez Farquell, has told Gaspart that the club, slipping into the red after two trophy-free seasons, cannot afford the œ6.5million fee which he believes Chelsea want for Hasselbaink.

Perez Farquell said: “It’s always the same with a potential transfer – it has to be cleared through the management and the board. This is nothing unusual, it’s an ongoing process. We have to weigh up all the pros and cons.”

Barcelona’s Dutch centre-forward Patrick Kluivert will be disappointed if Hasselbaink stays at Chelsea.

Kluivert said: “Jimmy would do a great job for us. Our problem is that too few forwards are having to do too much chasing back to win possession. We need the sort of support he could bring.”
By Keir Radnedge