Date published: Thursday 10th August 2017 8:25
Gary Neville is “concerned” for Chelsea ahead of the new Premier League season after they sold Nemanja Matic to title rivals Manchester United this summer.
The Serbian midfielder joined the Red Devils at the end of last month for £40million in a deal that should considerably strengthen the spine of Jose Mourinho’s team.
And Neville thinks the sale of Matic to United could have cost the Blues the Premier League title.
“I can’t think of a reason why Chelsea would sell him,” Neville told Sky Sports.
“If Nathaniel Chalobah or Ruben Loftus-Cheek were still there they could get rid of Matic and play a younger kid. You would applaud that but those players aren’t even at the club now.
“They have weakened their own team and strengthened Manchester United, who now have a better chance of winning the Premier League than Chelsea.
“United were crying out for a central midfielder with the qualities of Nemanja Matic. He is probably the best in England alongside N’Golo Kante.
“Chelsea have broken up that partnership and strengthened their rivals. All of a sudden United are in the driving seat ahead of Chelsea to win the Premier League.
“Chelsea are weaker than last season – no Diego Costa, no Matic – and I’m concerned for them.
“Is Tiemoue Bakayoko a similar type of player to Matic? Will he gel alongside Kante? Matic has intelligence and experience of the Premier League.
“Bakayoko has not and I saw him in the Champions League last year. He was good in some games, inexperienced in others. He will take time to settle.
“I think the [Matic] sale at this moment in time, with that Chelsea squad, could cost them the league.”