Chelsea striker Demba Ba has seen his most realistic chance of leaving Stamford Bridge disappear in the last 24 hours, with Serie A giants Fiorentina deciding that the £15m asking price was too steep as they close in on a deal for Alessandro Matri.
Ba was linked with a switch to Tuscany yesterday by La Repubblica after Fiorentina lost Serie A's top scorer Giuseppe Rossi to injury, with their other star striker Mario Gomez also sidelined through injury.
Fiorentina reportedly enquired about the possibility of signing the Senegalese forward this week but have soon turned their attention to Matri, agreeing a loan switch for the rest of the season with AC Milan.
Matri is due in Florence to confirm that loan deal later today, which means Ba will have to look elsewhere in search of regular first-team football if Chelsea allow him to leave before the transfer window closes.
The 28-year-old, who is yet to complete 90 minutes in the Premier League this season, was the subject of a summer approach from table toppers Arsenal.
Chelsea swiftly rejected that deadline-day approach and are likely to rebuff a second offer from a direct title rival, which leaves Ba on the periphery in the fight for regular game time with Jose Mourinho's men.