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Monday, 20 January, 2003, 12:22 GMT
Barca rule out signings
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in a match against former club Leeds United
Hasselbaink looks set to stay at Chelsea

An embargo on player transfers at Barcelona looks to have scuppered Chelsea striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's move to Spain.

Beleaguered Barca manager Louis van Gaal told a news conference after the club's latest Primera Liga defeat that he would not be making any new signings during the January transfer window.

"We're in a delicate situation," Van Gaal said after a disastrous 4-2 loss to 10-man Valencia at the Nou Camp.

"I've spoken to the players, the president, the technical staff and the medical staff and we've pledged to do everything possible to take the team forward.

"We've also decided that Football Club Barcelona will not sign any new players because we have confidence in the current squad."

The decision could signal the end of Van Gaal's second stint in charge of Barca, according to Spanish newspaper journalist Bibian Weggelaar.

"We were surprised to hear that they would be no transfers as it is clear that the club needs a striker," El 9's Weggelaar told BBC Sport Online.

Louis van Gaal
Barca lie a disappointing 10th in the Primera Liga

Dutch international Hasselbaink was Van Gaal's primary choice to fortify the club's attacking force.

"This embargo could mean that the club may not want to saddle a new coach with players that are of Van Gaal's choosing if he is on the verge of being sacked," Weggelaar said.

"Although the club have said that they have confidence in Van Gaal and he remains the manager of Barcelona, the situation is very shaky right now.

"If they lose their next game to Celta Vigo, it might be all over for him."

Former AC Milan coach Alberto Zaccheroni and Raddy Antic, the ex-Atletico Madrid manager, have been touted as possible replacements.

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