For a moment, imagine that the Premier League title this season was a mere formality. Imagine that the drama of the race didn't play out over 38 games, but rather was decided in the summer. Imagine that all of the moves made by contenders like Arsenal, Liverpool and the Manchester clubs were rendered moot.
In an alternative universe, the above happened. Because in that universe, Jose Mourinho called up Luka Modric on the phone, convinced the player to come to Chelsea, convinced Real Madrid to sell him and paired him with Nemanja Matic, Eden Hazard, Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas, making Chelsea a devastating force.
"I called Modric only privately but he doesn’t want (to join) Chelsea," Mourinho told Croatian newspaper Sportske Novosti. "You know I really appreciate Luka Modric and his qualities. But he stays in Real Madrid."
And the rest of the Premier League breathes a sigh of relief.
Sure, we don't know when Mourinho called Modric. And we don't know if bringing Modric aboard would have precluded the signing of Fabregas. While Fabregas will play a more advanced role than Modric occupies, it's hard to know if Chelsea would have sprung the type of money necessary to ensure the signing of two playmaking midfielders in their prime.
But we do know that Modric would have been the absolute perfect partner for Matic. We know that with those two in the pivot, either Fabregas or Oscar at the No. 10, Hazard and Willian bombing up the wings, Costa at striker and a sturdy defense and keeper, Chelsea would have been the league's most balanced team.
And most importantly, we know that Mourinho's call to Modric signifies just how ambitious the London club have been this summer.
Costa and Fabregas have been big, splashy signings, but Chelsea have bolstered their team across the pitch. Filipe Luis gives the team a true left-back (Cesar Azpilicueta played on that last side last year, but he's a natural right-back). Didier Drogba returns and gives the team a sturdy presence off the bench at forward. Thibaut Courtois and Romelu Lukaku have yet to be loaned or sold, though that could change before September rolls around.
If both are kept with the Blues—which admittedly seems extremely unlikely—the club would be arguably the deepest in Europe. Heck, if the season started today, Fernando Torres would likely be the team's fourth option at forward. Torres may not be the player he once was, but he's certainly better than a fourth option.
So deep are Chelsea at the moment, in fact, that they could sit several of their top stars and still be a dangerous squad, per Mirror Football on Twitter:
(3) Chelsea minus Courtois, Terry, Cahill, Matic, Fabregas, Oscar, Hazard, Costa = annoyingly strong pic.twitter.com/iL0GNSqzdt— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) July 29, 2014
That's just not fair.
Even Chelsea's players are weighing in on the team's impressive summer, such as Branislav Ivanovic, who told Slovenian sports website Nogomania, per Sky Sports, that the Blues will be a club to be reckoned with:
I think we will be much more creative in attack with the new players that we got in the summer. Now we have a lot of players that are really strong in attacking moves, so I believe that we will be really strong. And I also hope that we will be strong enough to win some trophies.
But it will not be easy, it never is. We have a quality team—that is for sure. We already had it last season when we fought until the end for the title. And don’t forget, we were also in the Champions League semi-final. But as I said, I believe that we are even stronger now with these new players, so I hope the new season will be even better for us.
But we will have to be stronger until the end and you also need a lot of luck.
Without question, Chelsea will want silverware this year after failing to procure any in Mourinho's first season after returning to the club. And thus far, their ambition has been clear to all.
Even without Modric, Chelsea are certainly one of the title favorites. For a club that was always solid defensively a season ago but at times lacked the final quality in the attack, the additions of Costa and Fabregas have really made them a scary, balanced side.
Adding Modric into the fray would have made them borderline unstoppable. Somewhere in an alternate universe, the rest of the Premier League is hyperventilating with Modric donning a Chelsea kit.
Thankfully in this universe, Chelsea's ambitions didn't lead to that outcome. It would have been a very long season for the other 19 clubs had that happened. Of course, given the moves the team has made, it might be a very long season for the rest of the EPL anyway.