Gary Neville believes any team eyeing the Premier League title this season will have to get past Chelsea if they are to be successful.
Jose Mourinho’s side finished the previous campaign eight points clear of Manchester City to be crowned champions for the first time since 2010 and have since added to their squad with the signing of Radamel Falcao on a season-long loan.
Chelsea’s rivals have been busy in the transfer market, with Petr Cech moving to Arsenal, Manchester United acquiring Memphis Depay and Liverpool making six new signings – including Roberto Firmino and Danny Ings.
Despite the other contenders seeking to close the gap, Neville says Chelsea will start the new campaign as favourites.
“We’re in July when teams haven’t completed their business yet; that’s something I think you’ve got to be very careful about at this stage,” he told Sky Sports News.
“But as I stand here today now, I think it would be very difficult to look to past Chelsea.
“However, who knows what is going to happen in the next month in terms of signings and how those signings will then come in and adapt.
“Things can always happen and you could look at a team in a month’s time and think ‘they’re going to take some stopping with the people they’ve signed’, we haven’t seen the transfer market flush itself out yet.
“But certainly now, without the business having been done, you aren’t as informed as you’d like to be, but Chelsea would be the team to beat and I think everyone would say that.”