Premier League legend Alan Shearer believes both Chelsea and Manchester United are in with a chance of improving on last season but feels a Premier League title charge may be too much as England’s top-flight prepares for the start of the 2020-21 season.
Frank Lampard’s Blues have spent upwards of £200m this summer transfer window after bringing in the likes of Kai Havertz (£72m), Timo Werner (£47.7m), Ben Chilwell (£45.18m), Hakim Ziyech (£36m), Thiago Silva (free) and Malang Sarr (free) as per TransferMarkt and Shearer feels this level of recruitment could see Chelsea go even further than their fourth place finish last time out.
Elsewhere, domestic rivals and Premier League royalty United have only added the one addition this summer after they secured the services of versatile midfielder Donny van de Beek from Ajax for £39m as per Sky Sports.
Both Chelsea and United will head into the 2020-21 season which kicks-off later this afternoon looking to close the gap on 2019-20 league runaways Liverpool who finished 18 points clear of second place Manchester City.
Writing in his BBC Sport column, Shearer said: “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.
“Manchester 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.
“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.”
Shearer went onto use United’s Portuguese Magnifco Bruno Fernandes as a perfect example of how a single signing can turn a club’s fortunes around, he said: “If anyone needs any evidence of what a huge difference a signing or two can make, they need look no further than Bruno Fernandes at Manchester United.
“When he joined United at the end of January, they had just been booed off at Old Trafford after losing to Burnley – their fourth defeat in seven matches.
“If I’d said then that United would go on a 17-game unbeaten run, I would have been laughed out of the studio.
“But Fernandes’ arrival transformed the whole team, not just by his own skill and ability to find a killer pass, but because his presence seemed to add an extra 10% to every other United player too.
“That kind of impact is what every team wants from the signings they have already made this summer – or the ones they hope are still to come.”
Chelsea’s domestic season kicks-off on September 14 when they travel to face south coast Brighton, elsewhere United are back in action on September 19 when they host Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace.