It wouldn't take much for Chelsea to be firm favourites, perhaps just one marquee signing to boost their strongest team and keep every player on their toes. But without it, Chelsea will struggle. You'd be foolish to think any different.
Remember when a £20million transfer was a headline-making deal, rather than the norm? Unless you're a pretty young teenager, you probably do, which speaks to how quickly the transfer market has twisted and evolved in the last decade or so...
Going from "I'm not leaving, I'm staying at the football club" to "leaving Aston Villa football club is the hardest decision I have ever had to make" in less than a week is some retraction and without needing too much insight, it's one you would assume was prompted by the imminent departure of Christian Benteke to Liverpool.
What exactly is his crime? Turning down a lucrative contract offer because he wasn't happy with his general situation at the club? Not being quite as guarded with his media comments as he should've been? He's 20 years old. Show me a 20-year-old who hasn't said something ill-advised when frustrated and I'll show you a liar.
James Milner; gone. Frank Lampard; gone. Micah Richards; gone. Scott Sinclair; gone. Dedryck Boyata; gone. John Guidetti; also gone. These are the six homegrown players casually discarded by Manchester City this summer - only one of whom they had any intention of trying to keep.
He is the type of player the club need if they want to be successful. Sure, he's not the quickest, nor the most skilful, nor is he ever likely to finish high up the goalscoring charts, but in a squad packed full of talent and in a team bursting with expensive and flashy recruits, the simple truth is that City are better with Milner in the side.
Aguero, to put it frankly, has been remarkable ever since he signed for Manchester City from Atletico Madrid for £38million in 2011. From his debut, where he scored twice, stealing the show in a 4-0 hammering of Newcastle, 'Kun' has been chief supplier of goals at the Etihad Stadium.
As the money creeps further into the game, albeit slowly, is that increasing the pressure, which increases the intensity, which increases the likelihood of players losing their heads in the heat of the moment?
Manchester City have been far too naive in the transfer market since building their first Premier League title winning squad. It's a team which still remains, has reached its peak and gone far past it. So much so that it's become a problem. Serious work needs to be done.
With Monday night's loss to Crystal Palace, City's defence of their title is dead and buried. Y'know, even more than it was before. Nine points behind the leaders, who have a game in hand over them. It's not the worst title defence in recent times - that dubious honour has to go to United last season - but it's been pretty limp from a previously all-conquering team.
The end is nigh for Manuel Pellegrini. But for the current Manchester City boss, if the men above are to pull the proverbial trigger on his Etihad reign this summer, he'll have only himself to blame.
The players are exhibiting a freedom and style to their play which had been alarmingly truant during the ill-fated spell of Gerardo Martino. Much to City's angst and trepidation, Barcelona have rediscovered that way of winning which makes racking off five or six goals on an afternoon's work curiously insouciant.
Disproving others' low opinions of him has been a regular feature in Milner's career to date, helping him to where he is now - a soon-to-be out-of-contract midfielder, playing for the current champions of England, with a host of probable admirers.
Accustomed to watching their side roll over teams at home week after week, the City fans were again left in shock after a spirited Newcastle performance sent Pellegrini's men crashing out of the cup at only the second time of asking. There were no excuses for a crestfallen City.
Assuming Real Sociedad's interest in Ings is genuine, it's something the England Under-21 striker should seriously consider. Rumour has it that both Liverpool and City are monitoring the soon-to-be free agent closely, but if history is anything to go by, he should avoid the bright lights of Lancashire's two biggest cities at all cost.
The most telling moment this season at Anfield wasn't when he was dropped from the squad - registering just 34 minutes of football in 2015 at the time of writing - nor was it the time he was slammed by boss Brendan Rodgers for swapping shirts with Pepe at half-time. It was, typically, something that happened off the pitch.