Chelsea's search for a star striker will have to go on after its pursuit for the Roma star appears all for nothing.
Chelsea looking increasingly unlikely to sign Roma striker Edin Dzeko to boost their squad ahead of the final four months of the season, with the latest gossip that a proposed move for the Bosnian goalscorer has 'broken down'.
The reigning Premier League champions have been linked with an eclectic array of striker this month, from West Ham's Andy Carroll and Stoke's Peter Crouch, to Burnley's Ashley Barnes, Leicester's Islam Slimani and even Arsenal's Olivier Giroud.
But Dzeko looked the most likely to arrive as support, cover and competition for existing strikers Alvaro Morata and Michy Batshuayi.
However, with just a few days of the transfer window left, The Independent has reported that the Dzeko deal is 'on the verge of collapsing' after what are described as 'unsuccessful talks'.
The root of those failed talks may come from disagreement over the length of the contract Dzeko was apparently put forward by Chelsea. On Saturday, the Daily Mail reported that Chelsea had offered £25m to Roma, but were only prepared to give an 18-month deal to the player.
That would have included an option to extend it by a further year, but 31-year-old Dzeko is said to have wanted the security of having the reigning Premier League champions match the two-and-a-half years he currently has left on his Roma contract.
It remains to be seen if Chelsea will turn their attention elsewhere in the final two days of January, but manager Antonio Conte declared that "three strikers is the minimum" when speaking to the press after Sunday's comfortable FA Cup fourth round win over Newcastle.
Batshuayi scored twice in that game. The fringe Belgian has been heavily linked with a loan exit this month after struggling to suitably impress Conte since he joined the club in 2016, but his departure combined with no new additions would leave Chelsea in an even worse state.