Barcelona linked with Hasselbaink

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Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink yesterday brushed off reported interest from Barcelona, insisting: "My mind is with Chelsea."

Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink yesterday brushed off reported interest from Barcelona, insisting: "My mind is with Chelsea."

The Dutch striker is understood to be the top target for the under-pressure Barça coach, Llorenc Serra Ferrer, but Hasselbaink, who joined Chelsea from Atletico Madrid in the summer, made his intention to stay in London, for the foreseeable future at least, quite clear. "Barça are a phenomenal club but I'm not even thinking about leaving," he said. "I have signed with Chelsea for five years. I don't know anything about interest in me from another team and I don't want to talk about it.

"Barcelona are a great club with some excellent players - not all of them Dutch - but I can't say anything at the moment. I don't know anything concrete, although there are only two countries where I would play now - Spain and England."

Hasselbaink, whose form for Chelsea has seen him recalled to the Netherlands squad, added: "I don't know what will happen in the future but at the moment my mind is with Chelsea."

The Arsenal central defender Matthew Upson has spelt out his need for first-team football as he tries to make up for lost time after nearly a year on the sidelines with cruciate ligament damage.

Upson looked to have a bright future at club and international level before the injury, which was sustained in a clash with Emile Heskey at Filbert Street last December. He was a regular member of the England Under-21 side and looking to follow Tony Adams and Martin Keown into the full squad as well as enjoying greater involvement at first-team level at Highbury.

Then came the set-back and now Upson is keen to kick-start his career after two comeback appearances for the Gunners, against Ipswich in the Worthington Cup and Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions' League.

However, he could not hide his frustration after his third scheduled 90 minutes of action in as many weeks was taken away from him when the England Under-21 friendly against Italy in Monza was abandoned after only 11 minutes on Tuesday because of fog.

Upson said: "I need first-team football. I am 21. It's your career and you can't forget that - it's not going to be there forever. You are going to get 13 or 14 good years of football. I want to have them at the top of my game, at the best that I can play.

"I've got time. I am not pressing panic buttons but it would be nice to progress a little bit quicker than I have done. It's getting into the Arsenal first team which is the problem. It's maybe harder to do that than the England scene at the moment. As soon as I can get into that Arsenal first team then things will happen from there."

Upson added: "The [England] Under-21 game being called off was disappointing for me because I'd been hoping to get my face back into the frame in the England scene. It was a big game for me. It was also a shame because I'm sure my boss [Arsÿne Wenger] would have been watching. I'd played twice for him since coming back and I feel I'm improving with every game. It would have been my third 90 minutes in three weeks, which for me at this stage is crucial to keep my fitness up. But at the moment I feel good. I've also had a couple of halves for the reserves and I've done so much ground work in training that I think I am ready to play matches at any standard."

As for the cause of injury, Upson recalled: "I just got my studs stuck in the turf and my bodyweight went over in a challenge with Emile Heskey. It was a freak incident which we could do nothing about but I'm hoping it's behind me now and my career can move forward."

The former Arsenal midfielder Anders Limpar is returning to his native Stockholm after two seasons with the Colorado Rapids in the United States. He has signed a two-year contract with Djurgarden, of the Swedish First Division, Limpar's 11th team. No financial terms were disclosed.

Limpar, 35, appeared for Sweden in two World Cups, winning a bronze medal in the 1994 tournament in the United States. He also won an English FA Cup with Everton in 1995, an English First Division championship with Arsenal in 1990-91 and a Swedish championship with AIK Solna in 1998.

The West Ham manager, Harry Redknapp, is losing patience with Paolo Di Canio as the Italian continues to rock the boat at Upton Park.

Redknapp has left the striker in no doubt that he is far from impressed after Di Canio claimed that neither Rio Ferdinand nor West Ham's young midfielder Joe Cole are ready for the step up to regular international football just yet.

But Redknapp has not been slow to return fire. He said: "I know Rio has been sickened by this. Enough is enough, and I can't allow this to go on."

The West Ham manager's patience is now clearly being tested by Di Canio and he added: "I have a terrific bunch of lads with a wonderful team spirit and will not stand by and watch somebody wreck it. I don't care who he is or how much talent he has. Paolo cannot get away with this time and again.

"I don't want to sell Paolo, that's the last thing I want because he's such a great player. But there comes a time when you have to do something about it and take action. We've got some very straight talking to do. Paolo is upsetting people right, left and centre and he should not be surprised if no one wants to talk to him."

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