Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher explains why he fancies Manchester United to be the closest challengers to the Premier League’s top two, despite Chelsea’s summer spending spree.
The Blues have already made six major signings this summer – with Rennes goalkeeper Edouard Mendy also potentially on his way – as manager Frank Lampard looks to close the gap on the dominant duo of Manchester City and Liverpool.
As for Manchester United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and co. have endured a frustrating window thus far, with Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek the only high profile name to have arrived at Old Trafford – although links continue to persist regarding Real Madrid defender Sergio Reguilon.
However, despite the contrasting recruitment activity of the two sides, Carragher believes that the Red Devils are still the best-placed side to attempt to catch Man City and champions Liverpool in what should be a much ‘tighter’ top-four battle this season.
“I think it will be a lot tighter, a lot closer,” Carragher said on Sky Sports Monday Night Football. “I actually believe, even if Manchester United don’t bring in the players that Chelsea have done, I still think that Manchester United will be the closest challengers to the top two.
🗣"I think Manchester United will be the closest, they can go a lot closer"
🗣"Frank is managing change after his first 12 months at Chelsea and brining in 6 players, that is not easy and that could go backwards" @Carra23 on who will challenge Liverpool & Manchester City pic.twitter.com/SKDEiDXG0T
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) September 14, 2020
“Let’s not forget the signing of [Bruno] Fernandes, he’s going to be there for a full season. He made a huge difference when he came in in January, I thought he was outstanding, and if he can continue that this season, I think they can go a lot closer.”
Carragher also sounded a word of caution to those expecting a much-improved Chelsea side this term, the former England international even suggesting that the Blues ‘could easily go backwards’ having brought in so many new players.
“I think the thing that we should remember with Chelsea is that bringing all these players in, the most difficult thing in management – and this is something I remember Sir Alex Ferguson saying – was managing change,” he continued.
“Frank is managing change after 12 months at the club. Normally a manager is managing change after having a cycle of four of five years and the team needs to evolve and move on. Frank is bringing six or seven players in and that is not easy.
“Chelsea could easily go backwards. They are bringing them in to propel them forwards and get those numbers. They had to make changes, I get that. But it can easily go the other way. It’s not easy to bring in those types of players and make it all gel.
“We know for certain, not every transfer is going to work. Not all of those players who have been brought in are going to be successful, so that is why I see United being the closest challengers to the top two.”