Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer has given his opinion on Chelsea and Manchester United’s chances of challenging for the Premier League title.
The Blues finished fourth last term in manager Frank Lampard’s first campaign in the dugout, yet a summer of extensive and expensive recruitment has raised the possibility of a Chelsea title push.
Chelsea have already made six major signings so far this summer, with a potential seventh on the way in the form of Rennes goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, the 28-year-old coming in as a potential replacement for current stopper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
With the London club set to face Brighton on Monday in their opening Premier League fixture, Shearer believes that the upcoming campaign will see raised expectations at Stamford Bridge, although a league title ‘will be beyond them’.
”City are not the only team who will think they are capable of closing the gap on Liverpool. Chelsea have spent £200m already, so it is clear what their intentions are,” Shearer told the BBC.
”Frank Lampard had a very positive first season in charge given the circumstances, with the club under a transfer embargo, but now they have splashed the cash, the expectation level changes.
”Suddenly his target goes from hoping they can get in the top four, to a demand that they challenge for the title. You don’t spend that sort of money otherwise but, while I am sure they will improve, I still think winning the league will be beyond them.”
As for United, their summer has been far quieter, the only notable signing so far being that of Ajax midfielder Donny Van de Beek who arrived in a £40m deal earlier this month.
The Dutch international will look to improve a side that had an excellent end to the league season last term, with January recruit Bruno Fernandes inspiring what had otherwise seemed an unlikely third placed finish.
Despite the noticeable lift the Portuguese midfielder has given to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, Shearer is still unconvinced by United’s title credentials and suggests they lack the required squad depth to challenge.
”United, too, will be looking up the table after their great run to finish third, but bettering that finish is going to be extremely hard for them as things stand,” the former England skipper said.
”I’m not sure they have the depth to sustain a challenge, although I’m expecting one or two more signings to go with Donny van de Beek and if Jadon Sancho is one of them I could understand if their fans started getting excited.
”United are going to be good to watch even if they don’t get Sancho, but I am really interested to see how their goalkeeping situation plays out because we could see a real battle to be number one between David de Gea and Dean Henderson.”
United begin their 2020/21 at home to Crystal Palace next weekend, having been given an extended break from competitive action due to their European exploits.