It’s an unthinkable scenario for the tribal upper reaches of the Premier League.
In a competition where Serbia defensive midfielder Nemanja Matic’s defection last August to Manchester United from Chelsea is a rarity, what would happen if open season erupted and the top six could pick up one player from their immediate rivals?
We’ve had a go at imagining how this would look.
Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
How can you improve on perfection? This is the challenge that awaits boss Pep Guardiola after City’s record-breaking charge to last term’s Premier League title.
You have to be a special talent to improve an attack that struck 106 times in the Premier League. Chelsea’s Belgium forward Hazard would fit this billing, perfectly.
The 27-year-old could not hide his exasperation in 2017/18 about manager Antonio Conte’s constraining tactics.
Guardiola would grant him this freedom – and we saw how this worked out when the Spaniard had Argentina icon Lionel Messi under his aegis at Barcelona.
Marcos Alonso (Chelsea)
Chief among manager Jose Mourinho’s problems to solve this summer is his options at left-back.
England’s Luke Shaw and Netherlands’ Daley Blind have come up short of requirements, while current incumbent Ashley Young is a 32-year-old reformed winger.
This is where Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso comes in.
He’s got everything ‘The Special One’ wants in a full-back – diligent in the tackle, adds height to the backline plus is economical in attack as a combined 13 goals and five assists details in two Premier League campaigns.
Mourinho oversaw the sale of the then 19-year-old to Bolton Wanderers during 2010’s first summer at Real Madrid. He’d now relish making the opposite move.
Hector Bellerin (Arsenal)
It’s a difficult task to improve a Spurs starting XI that is arguably only bettered by City’s champions.
But one area that isn’t truly settled is at right-back, where England’s Kieran Trippier and Ivory Coast’s Serge Aurier do not always fully convince.
A glance across north London would take in Bellerin.
There is no doubt that the rampaging Spanish right-back has regressed since 2015/16’s startling breakthrough. But this is where the fabled coaching abilities of Mauricio Pochettino come in.
A player who has been clocked running faster than Thierry Henry and Theo Walcott has a special gift. The Argentine would be able to eradicate the defensive frailties all too often apparent – see Diego Costa’s goal in the Europa League semi-finals for a contemporary example – and accentuate his attacking gifts.
What a prospect that would make the 23-year-old.
David De Gea (Manchester United)
The Reds’ long-term failing between the sticks came back to bite them in painful fashion during last weekend’s Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid.
A pair of unfathomable mistakes from German Loris Karius ensured a new goalkeeper must be sought this summer.
If money was no object and rivalry could be pushed to one side, then there is no better candidate than bitter rivals United’s Spain No1.
De Gea is simply without compare in the Premier League – if not the world.
In 2017/18, United had the second-best defence (28 goals conceded). But the busy De Gea was forced to make the fifth-most saves (115).
This a feat way beyond the abilities of Karius and Belgium No2 Simon Mignolet.
Harry Kane (Tottenham)
Last summer’s addition of Alvaro Morata was meant to provide a seamless transition from fellow Spain centre forward Diego Costa.
A bright start that contained seven goals in his opening eight matches pointed to a new dawn at Stamford Bridge.
This was not to last. Morata struck just three times during the season’s final 23 matches, a stark decline that saw him miss out on La Roja’s squad for World Cup 2018.
One lethal striker who will be present in Russia is England and Tottenham’s Kane.
The 24-year-old is in a league of his own when it comes to judging front men. A tally of 108 goals in 150 top-flight games for Spurs speaks for itself, while he also offers a physical factor redolent of Blues great Didier Drogba.
There are finer centre-backs currently plying their trade in the Premier League than the 32-year-old version of Vincent Kompany – fellow Belgium stars Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld immediately spring to mind.
But there is something the elder statesman possesses in spades that is a rare commodity – genuine leadership skills. This facet has been glaringly absent at Arsenal since the exit of France’s William Gallas in 2013.
Kompany remains a true guiding light and inspirational presence, even if years of nagging muscle injuries have chipped away at his physical prowess.
His influence could bring out the best in erratic Germany centre-back Shkodran Mustafi, whose abysmal second half of 2017/18 cost him a place in the World Cup squad.
Huddersfield boss David Wagner and his coaching team have signed new three-year contracts, the Premier League club have announced.
Wagner, assistant Christophe Buhler and first-team coach Andrew Hughes will remain at John Smith’s Stadium until the summer of 2021.
The trio all had 12 months left on their previous contracts, but their new deals end months of speculation over their future, with various rival clubs across Europe reported to be keen on enticing Wagner away from West Yorkshire.
“The decision to extend my stay at this club was not a difficult one,” Wagner, 46, said.
“The relationship Christoph, Andy and I have with (chairman) Dean (Hoyle), the rest of the board, the staff and the supporters is special.
“We’ve achieved some incredible things together in two and a half years and now I’m excited about the future.
“We still have a lot of work to do as we adapt to life in the Premier League, but this club and its people have the ambition, desire and attitude to take this challenge on.
“Finally, a message to Huddersfield Town fans everywhere. Thank you for the support you have shown us and the players since I joined the club; it’s been such a big factor in the success we’ve enjoyed.”
Terriers owner and chairman Hoyle said he had always remained confident Wagner would commit himself to the club amid continued rumours linking the German with a summer departure.
“I understand why David is so talked about and sought-after given the things he has achieved here,” Hoyle said.
📲 There were plaudits aplenty on social media after #htafc announced that David Wagner, Christoph Bühler and @Andrew10dog had all signed new deals.— Huddersfield Town (@htafcdotcom) May 30, 2018
Check out some of the best tweets we received from both supporters and journalists.
➡️ https://t.co/iikC0s0jBX (AT) pic.twitter.com/c5aWRETjTi
“He’s a very talented head coach and has played a huge role in transforming Huddersfield Town into the club it is today.
“However, I have never had any doubts about David’s future. Time and again he has shown his commitment to Huddersfield Town, as the club has demonstrated its commitment to him.
“It’s also important that the futures of Christoph and Andrew are secure. They’ve played integral parts in the success we’ve all enjoyed.
“Together, they make a fantastic, talented coaching team as they all bring different skillsets to the table.
“We have a fantastic working relationship and we’re looking forward to taking on the challenge of establishing Huddersfield Town in the Premier League together.”
Wagner has emerged as one of English football’s hottest properties since arriving in England as a relative unknown to replace previous boss Chris Powell in November 2015.
The former Borussia Dortmund reserve-team coach steered the Terriers away from relegation trouble before winning promotion in his first full season via a penalty shootout in the Championship play-off final at Wembley.
Huddersfield were big favourites for an instant return to the second tier, having returned to the top flight for the first time in 45 years, but defied the odds again to secure another season in the Premier League.
Aaron Ramsey has suggested his future lies at Arsenal after hailing Unai Emery’s arrival as an “exciting time” for the Premier League club.
The fact that Ramsey is set to enter the final 12 months of his contract has put question marks against his future at Arsenal.
Barcelona, Liverpool and Manchester United have all been linked with the Wales midfielder in the past.
But Ramsey, speaking after Wales’ 0-0 draw against Mexico in California, gave his backing to Emery, the former Sevilla and Paris St Germain manager.
Asked if he was looking forward to working with Emery, Ramsey replied: “Of course.
“I haven’t spoken to him at all yet, but I think it’s an exciting time for the club.
“I can’t wait to get back there now.”
Emery was appointed Arsenal manager earlier this month after Arsene Wenger’s 22-year reign came to an end.
Ramsey, signed from Cardiff in 2008, is soon to mark his 10th anniversary at Arsenal and is the longest-serving player at the club.
He suffered an ankle injury against Mexico but battled on after taking the armband from the stricken Ashley Williams.
Everton defender Williams suffered a suspected rib injury, which forced him to go to hospital for an X-ray.
“I rolled my ankle but I’d taken the armband from Ash and I thought I had to stay on and do my bit for the team,” Ramsey said.
“It wasn’t the best surface in the world and my ankle is a bit sore.
“Hopefully there will be no lasting damage and it will settle down over the next few days.
“It was always going to be difficult coming here against a good Mexico team, but we did well.
“In the first half we played really well, we just couldn’t quite get the goal we needed.
“Apart from that we hung on in the second half, so we are pleased with the result and the performance.
“The future of Wales is very bright and there are a lot of exciting Young players coming through.
“Playing a lot of them in this game and in this sort of atmosphere will only give them that bit more confidence now going into the future.”