Jose Mourinho is already on a crash course with Roman Abramovich over whether or not Chelsea replace their misfiring strikers this January.
The Blues boss is understood to be at the end of his tether with Chelsea's three frontmen, who have scored just four Premier League goals between them in 15 matches.
While publicly backing Fernando Torres, Samuel Eto'o and Demba Ba, sources close to Mourinho say he is desperate for the club to sign a younger and more prolific goalscorer in January.
But Chelsea sources insist there will be no major buys in the transfer window, and that Mourinho will have to soldier-on with its existing forwards.
The breaking point for Mourinho seems to have come this weekend, when Blues crashed to a 3-2 defeat at Stoke's Britannia Stadium – having seen a series of first half chances go begging.
When asked if his strikers were good enough to mount a Premier League title challenge, Mourinho stopped a long way short of a ringing endorsement.
“I think they are players trying to give everything to the team,” he said. “Working hard, fighting hard and when players try to give everything to my team, I can't criticise.”
He then reeled off a list of strikers scoring goals for Premier League rivals: “If you tell me (Sergio) Aguero has scored already 10 or 12 (Manchester City) goals, (Alvaro) Negredo 10 or 12 (City) goals, (Edin) Dzeko four or five (for City), (Wayne) Rooney eight or 10 (for Manchester United), (Olivier) Giroud eight or 10 (for Arsenal), (Daniel) Sturridge eight or 10 (for Liverpool), (Luis) Suarez 10 or 12 (for Liverpool), if you ask me would I like my strikers to score eight-10-12 goals, yes.
“If we had eight-10-12 goals (from the strikers) we would be top of the league. That’s a reality but my strikers give everything and the team works hard.”
Mourinho said his main problem was that he was unable to improve Blues' three strikers, who are all around the age of 30.
“It is one thing to improve a player who is 20 years old, which you can,” he added.
“If you can tell me can you improve (Eden) Hazard? Yes, I can.
“Can I improve a player who is 30 years old? How?
“I can’t complain because everyone is working hard, everyone is trying to give their best to the team so I can’t criticise and I don’t.”
Eto'o, 32, has scored just two league goals this season, while Torres, 29, and Ba, 28, have scored only one each.