Neil Humphreys: Higuain has fame, not form
Sarri set to be reunited with his ex-striker, but the fading 31-year-old will find it tough in EPL
After Chelsea's struggles with an internationally renowned striker who lost his eye for goal, the Blues are poised to replace him with an internationally renowned striker who lost his eye for goal.
The thinking is simple enough. Alvaro Morata leaves. Gonzalo Higuain arrives. One big name cancels out the other, pacifying those in awe of the cult of celebrity.
But the Argentinian has fame, rather than form, in his corner and his reported loan move to London smacks of desperation.
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri is hoping for goals from an old colleague who doesn't score that often any more.
Indeed, everything about the reported loan deal between Juventus and Chelsea to secure Higuain's services until the end of the season seems to contradict the needs and philosophies of both club and coach.
Generally speaking, Roman Abramovich has an aversion to signing older players. Ever since he allowed his personal relationship with Andriy Shevchenko to cloud his judgment, signing the fading striker for a silly sum, the Chelsea owner has insisted on birth-certificate checks.
And yet Higuain is 31 and mostly plays like it. He's not a robust thirty-something, capable of reshaping his frame to suit his evolving game like Cristiano Ronaldo, the ageless colossus that replaced him at Juventus.
For Argentina and his many clubs, Higuain has carved a lucrative career from being the definitive lump up front. But he's slowing down, both on the pitch and on the stats sheet.
His league-record 36 goals for Sarri's Napoli earned a staggering 90 million-euro (S$139m) move to Juventus in 2016, but the figures have steadily declined ever since.
A respectable 24 goals in his first season dropped to 16 in the second, despite leading the Juve line in a one-team league.
For club and country, the Argentinian has laboured under the suspicion of being a tad mercurial in front of goal. Indeed, Juventus lost patience and replaced him with Ronaldo, sending Higuain to AC Milan, where he has netted only once more than Morata at Chelsea.
Combining league and Europa League appearances, Higuain has knocked in eight to Morata's seven this season, despite starting more games.
Morata has averaged a goal every 168 minutes. Milan got only a goal every 216 minutes from Higuain.
Chelsea need goals, obviously. There's no question that the Morata experiment has failed.
The Blues are toiling to hold winning positions, considering they haven't scored more than twice in any of their last 13 games.
The last time they earned an EPL victory by more than one goal was seven games ago.
Higuain enjoyed the most prolific season of his career at Sarri's Napoli, scoring a record-equalling 36 goals in Serie A, so they seem an obvious match made in heaven, right?
That depends on Sarri. As Morata and Olivier Giroud have discovered to their cost, Sarri shapes a side around his philosophy, rather than a particular group of players (which has benefited David Luiz, for example, but not the two strikers).
Playing Eden Hazard through the middle, in a false role, may not be a stop-gap measure, but a deliberate tactic that Sarri introduced at Napoli with remarkable success.
Sarri adores quick artistes fizzing around the box. Up front, he prefers nifty trios flipping positions and pulling defences out of shape.
Against Newcastle United last weekend, Willian, Hazard and Pedro Rodriguez adopted similar roles to Lorenzo Insigne, Jose Callejon and Dries Mertens at Sarri's Napoli.
Sarri and Higuain's work at Napoli might have contributed to the Argentinian's greatest goal haul, but what's less remembered is that Sarri's Napoli actually improved once Higuain left for Juventus, finishing second with 91 points.
Napoli's front three of Insigne, Callejon and Mertens took the breath away and Sarri's aesthetic brand of attacking football took him to Chelsea. Then and now, he favours roving, improvising forwards with quick feet. Higuain doesn't really fit the bill.
But Hazard does. Despite his preference for a left-sided role, he's already picked up 10 goals and 10 assists for the season.
Sarri's philosophy approach clearly agrees with the Belgian, which makes Higuain's reported loan deal all the more intriguing.
Morata, Shevchenko, Fernnando Torres and even Giroud are all begrudging members of the Established Strikers Who Flopped at Chelsea club.
Higuain's age, reputation, playing style and loss of form are just crying out to make him another disgruntled member. He is a brand name, but maybe not the right name for Chelsea.