Chelsea have been dealt a transfer blow in their reported pursuit of striker Mario Balotelli.
The Italian international had been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge in recent days, with agent Mino Raiola claiming his client is in contact with Jose Mourinho and that a move to west London ‘could happen’.
"Balotelli and [Chelsea boss] Jose Mourinho could be reunited because they know each other and they didn't leave each other with hate," he told TikiTaka on Italia 1.
“They have remained in contact and there is mutual respect. Balotelli to Chelsea could happen because Balotelli is a great striker, but (Adriano) Galliani doesn't want it."
It isn’t just Galliani who doesn’t want the player to leave the San Siro, with AC Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri admitting that he wants to keep the player on the club’s books.
And, whilst the boss feels Balotelli isn’t currently playing at his best, it doesn’t mean that they’ll be letting him leave in the New Year.
"I have absolutely no fear of losing Balotelli in January. He is a Milan player who is now living in a time when he's not playing well, but it can happen," he told a press conference, according to Sky Sports.
Reports in Portuguese paper A Bola on Monday claimed that Chelsea were considering a €35million move to bring the player back to the Premier League.
However, the Blues now look set to be rebuffed if they do pursue the 23-year-old maverick in the New Year, and ‘the special one’ may now need to look elsewhere for recruits.
Chelsea aren’t short of options in attack, with Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto’o and Demba Ba all vying for first team chances – although Balotelli would certainly add something different if he made the move back to England from Serie ‘A’.