Chelsea and Manchester City enjoyed an entertaining clash at the Etihad yesterday, with City coming out on top- but it won't be lost on either of them that the match was of the importance either would have liked it to be.
Both clubs had ambition to fight for the Premier League title this season, but effectively it was a battle for second place. Now City might go on and confound everybody by hauling in United's 12 point lead, but it would take a brave man to stick any substantial portion of cash on it.
So this summer both sides will duke it out in the transfer market to improve their squads and come back even stronger, and are already looking likely to compete for the same names.
Roberto Mancini mentioned at the weekend that Colombian goal machine Falcao was one of his top targets, a forward who is an object of footballing affection for Chelsea and Roman Abramovich.
There's no denying the £50 million rated striker's incredible talent and goalscoring record; he would transform both attacks, but with all respect to the striker, there are numerous strikers who can improve both attacks in a similar way, even if they may not quite be as prolific as he.
A player who should be a greater priority for both teams is one who is far more unique, proven in the Premier League, and of who there are so few like in world football; Marouane Fellaini.
The Belgian is a proven commodity in England, and is enjoying his best season to date with Everton. scoring 11 goals - and this week once again alluded that he would be open to considering a move at the end of the current season.
He told The People: "Am I interested in Chelsea? It’s normal, right? I’ve never played in the Champions League!
"I’m happy here, I know everyone, I get along with my team-mates. It’s my home. On the other hand, I also want to take the next step. Fate will decide."
Chelsea need a player to replace Frank Lampard in the middle of the park, and Fellaini is perfect. He would feel right at home at Chelsea alongside international teammate Eden Hazard, and especially if they bring back loanees De Bruyne and Lukaku.
They would have to commit £30 million to sign him, but this is Chelsea we are discussing so transfer fees are unlikely to be a problem and with Fellaini at 25 he has plenty of his career ahead of him to repay that fee.
Manchester City too are reportedly interested, as they prepare to move on underperforming midfielders like Nasri and search for a younger and more dynamic player than 32-year-old Gareth Barry.
City have shown repeatedly that when Yaya Toure is out they struggle for consistency; with Fellaini they would have no such worries, and together the towering pair could just be unstoppable.
Midfielder of Fellaini's quality, age and experience don't come along very often, and this summer there is an opportunity to snap him up, providing Everton don't themselves upset the form book and reach the top four.
Sadly in Falcao's case there will always be another 'top striker' around the corner, and even now there are plenty of alternatives if the Colombian stays or goes elsewhere, but Fellaini is emerging as a special case who should be a priority for both clubs this summer.
image: © nicksarebi