Maurizio Sarri hailed Gonzalo Higuain as a "wonderful man" amid reports Chelsea might try to sign the striker who thrived under his guidance at Napoli.
Higuain amassed a record-breaking haul of 36 Serie A goals for Napoli during the 2015-16 season – paving the way for a €90million switch to Juventus.
Back-to-back Scudetti followed but the Argentina international found himself surplus to requirements following Cristiano Ronaldo's arrival this year, prompting a loan move to AC Milan.
The Rossoneri have an option to buy the 31-year-old but he has largely failed to fire for Gennaro Gattuso's side, with the last of his five Serie A goals this term coming back in October.
Reports in Italy suggest a swap defeat featuring Higuain and Chelsea's similarly out-of-sorts Alvaro Morata could be in the offing, but Sarri was reluctant to be drawn on such talk.
"As you know, I like him very much. He is a wonderful player, a wonderful man," he told a news conference
"I don't want to talk about Higuain because I have two strikers, maybe two-and-a-half at the moment and Gonzalo is playing in AC Milan.
"It is better not to talk about him at the moment."
The half in Sarri's unusual equation for his forwards is Eden Hazard, who operated to fine effect as a false nine in the back-to-back Premier League wins over Manchester City and Brighton and Hove Albion.
Sarri is ready to continue the experiment when the Blues host Leicester City this weekend after Olivier Giroud led the line in more conventionally during the 1-0 EFL Cup quarter-final win over Bournemouth – even if it was Hazard who came off the bench to net the winner in midweek.
"We started in the last two matches with Eden as a striker. In the first match [against City] it was only a tactical choice. Then I wanted to see if the solution could work in all the situations or not.
"I needed two or three matches to be sure if it is the right solution. I explained my point of view to Giroud and we will see.
"At the moment the solution is good, I think, because we played a good match against City and against Brighton we were very dangerous for 60 minutes."
Hazard expressed dissatisfaction after being asked to carry out a similar role under Antonio Conte last season, but Sarri insists the Belgium star has given him no such complaints.
"There isn't a best position for Hazard. Hazard, he is a wonderful player with a very high level of imagination," he added.
"I think that he needs to be allowed to be free on the pitch. There isn't a right position for him but we need to have very high level of organisation [to benefit from] his movements.
"He told me that the likes very much to play there. I wasn't here in the last season so I don’t know why Eden said this. At the moment he likes very much to play there."