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The boos which greeted the final whistle following last night's stalemate against Southampton officially marked the end of Maurizio Sarri's Chelsea honeymoon period.

Given he was parachuted into his new position just three weeks before the Community Shield, afforded little time to prepare and shape his new squad, it is a wonder it has taken until now for significant cracks to emerge.

Chelsea remain in pole position to grab the last Champions League qualifying position but the gap to Arsenal is down to three points, while a rejuvenated Manchester United, under the interim management of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, have emerged as a genuine threat.

Fixture congestion is likely to pose a further headache to Sarri in the coming weeks with Chelsea still involved in four competitions. His squad looks ill-equipped to contend with a two-legged Carabao Cup semi final against Tottenham and the crucial Premier League games against Arsenal and Manchester City which are on the horizon.

Christian Pulisic's arrival has been postponed until the summer, but his track record, in any case, suggests he would have been unable to supply the steady stream of goals which have dried up in recent weeks.

Chelsea's last four wins have all been by single-goal margins with strikers Alvaro Morata and Olivier Grioud both struggling with form and fitness.

Sarri's admission that his team needs 'something different' following last night's 0-0 draw was tantamount to a cry for help with a new striker capable of leading the line an absolute priority. Here are four Chelsea could look to sign in the next month...

Gonzalo Higuain

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The name at the top of Sarri's wishlist is likely to be that of Gonzalo Higuain who enjoyed a record breaking season under the Italian's management during their time together at Napoli.

Chelsea are reported to have held talks with AC Milan over the possibility of taking over their loan arrangement with Juventus in a deal which could see the out of sorts Morata move in the opposite direction.

Higuain played a pivotal role in Juve's continued domination of Serie A but was deemed surplus to requirements following the arrival of Cristiano Ronaldo. He got off to an impressive start, scoring seven goals in his first 10 games, before enduring a nine-game barren run which came to an end during last weekend's win over SPAL.

He might be at the tail-end of his career, but Higuain's experience and understanding of Sarri's tactical demands mark him out as the ideal candidate to solve Chelsea's most pressing problem.

Marko Arnautovic

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Mark Arnautovic's importance to West Ham was underlined in Wednesday's 2-2 draw against Brighton. Andy Carroll, making his first start in exactly 12 months last night in place of the injured Javier Hernandez, lasted just 45 minutes.

A miserable start to the New Year looked on the cards when Shane Duffy doubled the visitor's advantage just two minutes after Dale Stephens had opened the scoring, only for Arnautovic to rescue a point with two goals in a crazy two-minute spell.

The Austrian displayed all the qualities lacking in Chelsea's main front-men of late, bullying Brighton's defence to haul his side back into the contest, before impudently and instinctively levelling the scores with one flick of his right boot.

West Ham, clearly, would be reluctant to lose their talisman midway through the season but the opportunity to potentially double their money on a 29-year-old with a highly questionable injury record may appeal to the club's owners, who spent in advance of £100million in the summer.

Callum Wilson

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Much to the annoyance of Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe, Chelsea assistant coach Gianfranco Zola all but confirmed the club's interest in Callum Wilson ahead of last month's Carabao Cup quarter final meeting between the two clubs.

The 26-year-old's focus appears to have been affected by the speculation surrounding his future, ending a five-game scoreless sequence, his longest run without a goal all season, in last night's pulsating 3-3 draw against Watford.

Overall, Wilson has scored nine goals in the Premier League this season, Harry Kane is the only English striker with more, and marked his international debut with a goal against the USA at Wembley in November.

The former Kettering and Tamworth forward looks ready to take a step up in class, consistently displaying the form he demonstrated in Bournemouth's promotion season before his career was twice interrupted by serious knee injuries.

Whether he is ready to spearhead a club of Chelsea's stature, however, remains to be seen.

Jamie Vardy

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Chelsea have twice raided Leicester for members of their title-winning side with varying degrees of success.

While N'Golo Kante has cemented his reputation as one of the world's best defensive midfielders, it's barely comprehensible he cost the same as Danny Drinkwater, a player who hardly featured under Antonio Conte and has been deemed surplus to requirements by Maurizio Sarri.

Drinkwater, with his limited passing range and technical deficiencies, is ill-suited to the Sarri-ball style but the same could also be said of Jamie Vardy, who has made a career out of playing on the shoulder of the last defender.

Vardy on Puel's tactics

'It does get a bit frustrating but we are transitioning into a different style of play. I think we've just got to keep working hard on it and eventually it will get us going forward that bit quicker because when we get into attacking positions eventually the ball will get picked out for some of my runs.

'Does it [suit me]? No, but is that down to me to adapt to it? Yes.'

Quite how prolific he would be in a team intent on dominating possession is questionable, but he is a pure finisher, boasts an incomparable record against the big six and his mobility and work rate contrasts hugely with Morata, in particular.

The 31-year-old signed a new contract in the summer but has admitted he is struggling to adapt to Claude Puel's tactics and has scored just seven times this season with three of those goals coming from the penalty spot.

It would take a sizeable investment to prise him from the King Power but might just be worth the risk.

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