Carlo Ancelotti insists it is impossible to say whether Chelsea would be closer to Manchester United in the Barclays Premier League had he spent big last summer.
The record-breaking £75million splashed out on Fernando Torres and David Luiz in January has reinvigorated the champions' floundering season, arguably suggesting their transfer policy at the start of the campaign had been flawed. Several big-name players were offloaded, with the club placing more emphasis on blooding youth.
But manager Ancelotti refused to dwell on what might have been had more experience been available to him at the end of 2010, and he said: "We can't say. We have more power and ability with Torres and Luiz in the squad. They came here at the right moment, Luiz and Torres."
Although Torres' well-documented failure to score may indicate his impact has been negligible, his mere presence has guarded against the threat of fatigue and injury.
Luiz, meanwhile, has been a revelation, and is arguably the catalyst for the run that has seen Chelsea cut United's lead over them from 15 points to nine - with a game in hand and a trip to Old Trafford to come.
The sequence emboldened Ancelotti to declare his side were back in the kind of groove that saw them threaten to run away with the championship back in October.
"The team, at this moment, is showing the same ability, the same skill that we were able to use at the start of the season," he said.
"People started to think everything was wrong here, but this is football. When a team or players have ability, skills, it can happen that at some moments in your career you can't show it."