Chelsea's hopes of luring Demba Ba to Stamford Bridge have suffered a major set-back after talks with the player's representatives broke down.
It emerged last night that the Newcastle United striker's people were in discussions with the European champions, however the deal on the table did not come close to the Senegal international's expectations and the talks broke up.
Ba's representatives have indicated that the striker does not now expect to end up in west London come the end of the January transfer window.
However, the future of Newcastle's number nineteen is set to continue to dominate the transfer related headlines.
A £7m release clause in Ba's contract becomes active tomorrow and there have been rumours linking the 27-year-old to various clubs, including Arsenal in the Premier League as well as various teams abroad.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew concedes that he is powerless to hold on to a player who scored his 12th and 13th goals of the season in the 7-3 defeat to Arsenal.
"Of course [it's a problem], but Demba is really out of my hands and there's nothing I can do about it. What will be will be," Pardew said.
Yet for all the speculation, Newcastle claim they have never received a bid for the hitman.
The Independent revealed that although the relatively cheap fee of £7m will be appealing to many clubs, the true cost of signing the former West Ham player could be closer to £30m when agent fees of £5m and a four-year deal worth £80,000 a week are factored in.
Newcastle themselves have been trying to renegotiate the contract Ba signed after joining from West Ham in 2011 but to no avail. Yet Pardew has said in the past that he has never received any indication that the player wishes to leave St James' Park.
Despite Ba's representatives claiming the player will be unlikely to join the Blues, an improved offer could soon be forthcoming.
Daniel Sturridge is set to join Liverpool next month and Chelsea are in desperate need of cover for Fernando Torres.