Jamie Vardy
Jamie Vardy is a January transfer target for Chelsea and Manchester CityGetty

Chelsea have identified Leicester City star Jamie Vardy as the priority January transfer target to boost their attacking division. The Blues have Diego Costa, Loic Remy and Radamel Falcao as three strikers in the squad and the trio, along with other key players have struggled this season.

Jose Mourinho was sacked on 17 December after losing nine out of 16 league matches and that ended his second spell at the club, seven months after helping them win the Premier League in May. Guus Hiddink was appointed as the club's interim first-team manager until the end of the season.

Roman Abramovich, the west London club's owner will hand the Dutchman the funds needed to help Chelsea move up the table, even though the latter is a caretaker manager at the club. The Mirror reported that Hiddink has set his sights on Vardy and Abramovich has given him the green signal to make an approach for the England international in the mid-season transfer window.

Vardy has been in fine form this season and has already scored 15 goals. The Leicester forward has emerged as the number one target for the English champions, who are struggling in the bottom half of the table, while the Foxes sit on top of the table.

The Blues' interest in the player is strong and they are set to make an approach for the forward next month. Any move from Chelsea could see them face competition from Manchester City as The Telegraph claims Manuel Pellegrini's side have made a tentative inquiry on Vardy, who is valued at around £30m ($44.6m).

Leicester are aware of the growing interest from English clubs for Vardy and they are looking to hand him a new deal, which will see a rise in his wages. However, that is unlikely to stop Chelsea from making a bid for their star player.

Claudio Ranieri has advised Vardy and his teammate Riyad Mahrez – who has also been in impressive form – to continue at the King Power Stadium until the end of the season. He said, "I spoke to the two guys, we continue together, we can improve. Maybe at the end of the season we can speak. We are in good flight now. I don't wait for their answer! If they believe in me – follow me."