On this day: Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink heads for Atletico Madrid

OTD: Hasselbaink heads for Atletico
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Back on this day in 1999, Leeds United agree to sell Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink to Spanish side Atletico Madrid.

As this column recently discussed when looking back on Rio Ferdinand's switch from Leeds United to Manchester United, restraint was not a word often associated with former Leeds chairman Peter Ridsdale.

Yet, in a rare act of caution 15 years ago today, the businessman refused to bow down to the demands of the club's star player - Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

The Dutch striker had embarked on a relatively low key career in his native Holland and Portugal before he switched to Elland Road in the summer of 1997 for £2m from Boavista. He impressed during his first campaign in England by scoring 16 Premier League goals and the frontman then backed that up by increasing his total to 18 the following term.

Such form attracted the attention of some of Europe's biggest clubs, which Hasselbaink and his agent believed would prompt Leeds into offering a dramatic increase in wages.

However, while the Yorkshire-based club vowed to double Hasselbaink's salary to around £25,000 a week, making him the best paid player in the club's history in the process, reports at the time claimed that the centre-forward had demanded at least £30,000 a week - a figure that Leeds were not willing to meet.

A transfer request from Hasselbaink soon arrived on Ridsdale's desk and was duly accepted as Leeds negotiated a deal worth £12m with Atletico Madrid for the player's services.

Upon the completion of the move, Hasselbaink's agent Humphrey Nijman was adamant that the fault for the breakdown in the relationship between the club and the striker should not rest with his client, but with Leeds.

"It was never Jimmy's intention to put in a written transfer request. That was the initiative of the club, they more or less demanded it. From the beginning of the negotiations we had an agreement with Leeds that everything that was said would be kept among us. But stories were coming out and that was very disappointing," he said.

"Among other things it made Jimmy's attitude change. It was never about money as many people believe. It was a number of issues which altered the situation. We were very unhappy with the way things went and that's the reason why Jimmy was pretty determined in his decision.

"It's not only a money thing, which is why Jimmy has been very hurt by the accusations saying he is greedy. Jimmy needs emotional satisfaction. Jimmy loves the fans and he loves Leeds. He would have loved to have stayed at the club."

Hasselbaink scored 35 goals in all competitions during his one and only season with Atletico, before he returned to the Premier League with Chelsea. He spent four campaigns at Stamford Bridge, then his career wound down with Middlesbrough, Charlton Athletic and Cardiff City.

Peter Ridsdale
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