Former Chelsea midfielder and assistant manager Ray Wilkins does not see any difference between new Blues midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko and Watford's Nathaniel Chalobah, and thinks Antonio Conte's squad is not as strong as it was last season.
Chelsea completed the £40m (€43.7m) signing of Bakayoko from Monaco a few days after Chalobah left Stamford Bridge for Vicarage Road for just £5m. Many would deem Bakayoko, a Ligue 1 title winner, to be an upgrade on Chalobah, who recently earned a call-up to the England squad, but Wilkins does not see any justifiable reason for parting with the 22-year-old and £35m for the France international and thinks his former side are "much weaker" than they were in the previous campaign.
"When you think what Chelsea have lost, we've lost Nathaniel Chalobah for £5m," Wilkins told Sky Sports, relayed by the Express. "I can't see the difference between the £40m that we paid for Bakayoko, I don't see that £35m difference, I really can't.
"Nathaniel is an up and coming young man who shows a lot of promise. He's already got himself in the England squad for his performances this season.
"I spoke with JT [John Terry] a long while ago, towards the back end of a season, and he said to me 'Ray, just throw Nathaniel in, he's been different class in training'. It's the players that see them day in, day out that give these guys those plaudits. I was saddened to see Nathaniel go to Watford.
"I think we are weakened, players have to get used to the Premier League whereby we had players who were used to winning it, not necessarily being in it but used to winning it.
"We have to start from a little bit square one again but in saying that, the squad is very presently placed because they do have some wonderful footballers."
Chelsea made six signings during the summer transfer window and have only lost two important first-team players from the side that secured the Premier League title with relative ease last season.
Nemanja Matic and Diego Costa are no longer a part of Chelsea's first-team, which has been substantially strengthened by Bakayoko, Antonio Rudiger, Davide Zappacosta, Willy Caballero, Danny Drinkwater and Alvaro Morata.