Graeme Souness expects a three-way battle to win the Premier League next season with Chelsea, Manchester City and United competing for the title.
The Blues stormed to their fifth title last season under Antonio Conte but the Italian appears to have a stiffer test awaiting during the 2017-18 campaign.
City and United have both enjoyed productive summer transfer windows, spending a combined total of more than £350million as they look to bolster Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho’s respective squads.
Souness believes both Manchester squads are capable of pushing reigning champions Chelsea all the way but doubts whether Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham can mount genuine title challenges.
‘I don’t see Liverpool or Arsenal as challengers, and the same goes for Spurs,’ he told the Sunday Times.
‘That observation should hurt Tottenham fans after their performances over the past two seasons.
‘There remain just over three weeks until the end of the transfer window, but I find their inactivity to date baffling.
‘It’s a cliché but true that if you stand still in the Premier League you go back. That’s how I see Spurs.’
Souness added: ‘A stronger United makes life harder for Chelsea and I expect Manchester City to do better this season.
‘Going forward they look the best of all the title contenders. Where they slipped up last season was at the back.
‘Pep Guardiola had a major defensive clear-out over the summer but the player who may be most important to their fortunes is the one who has been there the longest, Vincent Kompany.’
Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal finished fifth last term (Picture: Getty)
Antonio Conte slams ref after sending off Pedro and booking Willian vs Arsenal
Netherlands win Euro 2017 after thrilling 4-2 final against Denmark
Watch: Conte shows transfer frustration in frosty handshake with Chelsea top brass
Arsenal begin the 2017-18 campaign at home to Leicester City next Friday, while their FA Community Shield opponents Chelsea take on Burnley.
Guardiola’s Manchester City travel to Premier League new-boys Brighton and Manchester United welcome West Ham to Old Trafford on Sunday.