Date published: Thursday 10th August 2017 7:59
Alan Shearer fears there is something brewing at Chelsea “which isn’t nice” as they attempt to retain their Premier League title.
Shearer, who won the league with Blackburn in 1995, believes Antonio Conte will have to make two or three more key signings if they are to repeat last season’s heroics.
The Match of the Day pundit told BBC Sport: “The top seven already are nailed on, I don’t see any surprise breaking into there. I think Everton will be sixth or seventh, and the rest we know.
“But there’s only one team that can win it and [Manchester] City brought [Pep] Guardiola to the club to win the Premier League and to win the Champions League, and he has to win something this year. Jose [Mourinho] will feel exactly the same at Manchester United.
“Chelsea, I do sense as if there’s something brewing there which isn’t nice. They need to get in another two or three players, I think, to have a chance of retaining that title.”
Shearer, whose £15million switch from Blackburn to Newcastle in 1996 set a new world record transfer fee, also admitted his astonishment at Neymar’s bank-breaking move from Barcelona to Paris St Germain and forecast a knock-on effect for other clubs.
He said: “You had the world record fee at £90m and for it to be broken at £196m, it just takes your breath away.
“What that now does is if [Kylian] Mbappe leaves [Monaco] and goes to another club, I would guess the fee might have been £90m or £100m. But it would now go up to £140m, £150m, that would be my guess.
“If [Philippe] Coutinho was to leave [Liverpool], then that ramps up another £15m, £20m, £30m, so it is just staggering and it does take your breath away.”
Shearer, who scored a top-flight hat-trick on his full Southampton debut as a 17-year-old, is also concerned that the inflated transfer market is further hampering young home-grown talent.
He said: “It is making it harder than ever because when managers are in trouble they turn to experience.
“We constantly see the Chelsea Youth Team and the Manchester City Youth Team win the FA Youth Cup, but we are not seeing that many players come through their system and getting into their first teams, which has to be a real concern.
“We have already had England struggling in cup competitions for years now. I am genuinely concerned for that.
“We have shown progress in that area, which shows the kids have ability. They are going up against the best in the world from the other countries and being successful, so why can’t they have the chance at the bigger clubs in the Premier League?
“Because managers feel as if they need to go out and spend and they are guaranteed £50m or £60m. But of course, they don’t always work out.
“But it has to be a concern for English football.”