David James has tipped former club Manchester City to miss out on qualification for the UEFA Champions League.
City are expected to challenge for Premier League honours again in 2015-16 after finishing runners-up to champions Chelsea last term.
Former England international goalkeeper James, however, does not believe Manuel Pellegrini and Co. will be among the top four come next May, pointing to City’s big-spending transfer policy.
City forked out a British-record fee believed to be as much as £49 million for Raheem Sterling, while fellow England international Fabian Delph also made the move to Manchester.
“I generally think Man City of the top four are the weak link,” said BT Sport commentator James, who played 93 league games for City from 2004 to 2006.
“Man City, again, they have got all this talent, they have won the title twice [in 2011-12 and 2013-14] – or rather tripped over the line twice.
“Look at Chelsea last season. The title was won in November. If Arsenal had started better, I think Chelsea would have carried on longer just to win the league by 10, 15 points, whatever.
“I don’t see the Man City model being right, just spending loads of money and acquiring players. It isn’t necessarily the model of continued success. I have seen changes elsewhere and at the moment I am not seeing that at Man City. It is just spend a bit more and expect success.”
James has predicted Liverpool, where he made his name during the 1990s, to replace City in the top four.
“I am not one of the owners but if you look at the whole business model there is a flaw somewhere and, at the moment, they might think it is at the coaching level,” the 45-year-old added.
“I think this is the season of the coach. I think with the new coaches they have a great chance of qualifying for the Champions League at the expense of Man City.”