By London correspondent Tony Hughes
Tottenham will finish sixth in the Premier League this season, according to Paul Merson.
The former Arsenal forward believes that Mauricio Pochettino’s side will slip three places in the table and will miss out on a Champions League finish.
The Sky Sports pundit made the controversial claim on Monday as he assessed the title race and who is best placed to wrestle the crown from Leicester.
Merson is convinced that Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United are the three strongest teams ahead of the new campaign following their summer transfer activity.
“I’m going for Chelsea (1) to be champions on the strength of the manager, Antonio Conte, and Eden Hazard,” Merson wrote in his Sky Sports column. “The Belgium international had a terrible campaign last season, but could still be the best player in the league. If he gets going again the the Blues could sneak their way to the top.
“I’ll put Man City (2) second and I could make a case for Manchester United (3) winning the title with Jose Mourinho in charge. They have a big squad full of big players.
“If Arsenal (4) had bought a world-class centre forward and centre half, I would have picked them for the title, but they haven’t.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if Liverpool (5) finish in the top four and Tottenham (6) won’t be far off either because they already have a team while everybody else has had to buy a team.”
United are close to sealing a deal for midfielder Paul Pogba for a world record fee after signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
Chelsea have prised N’Golo Kante from Chelsea and added to their striker roster with the capture of Michy Batshuayi.
Arsenal still are yet to add a striker or centre-back to their team even though Arsene Wenger has admitted that he is in the market for players in both key positions.
Spurs have made only two signings this summer, with Vincent Janssen and Victor Wanyama joining the team that finished third under Mauricio Pochettino.
Liverpool have been the most active of the Premier League big hitters in the transfer market, with Sadio Mane and Georginio Wijnaldum their two headline signings.
Merson’s Premier League table: Chelsea (1), Man City 2), Man United (3), Arsenal (4), Liverpool (5), Tottenham (6), West Ham (7), Everton (8), Southampton (9), Stoke (10), Leicester (11), Crystal Palace (12), Middlesbrough (13), Sunderland (14), Swansea (15), Watford (16), West Brom (17), Bournemouth (18), Hull (19), Burnley (20).
In other Tottenham news, Juventus are eyeing a fringe Spurs player to replace Paul Pogba.