Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes it would be “foolish” to ignore the threat posed by Manchester City this season.
City are expected to take their summer spending through the £100m mark before the transfer window closes at the end of the month, and Ferguson believes that level of spending will have an impact.
Ferguson has compared the outlay to that of Roman Abramovich when he first arrived in the Premier League, which led to back-to-back titles for Chelsea.
“It would be foolish to ignore developments at Eastlands,” said Ferguson. “Manchester City do pose a new threat. We have only to look at how well Chelsea did with back-to-back championships after a massive injection of Russian cash to know money can talk.
“All the leading clubs are looking with interest to see how Mark Hughes handles the situation and whether he can make it work.
“We are all looking over our shoulders, though as far as Manchester United are concerned, it is not in fear.”
Ferguson was also quick to praise striker Wayne Rooney after he scored the only goal of the game in United’s 1-0 win over Birmingham City on Sunday.
“If you have two or three strikers who can get you 20 it stands you in good stead.” said Ferguson. “Wayne Rooney is well capable of that.
“I know some of our supporters are still worried that I have not bought a megastar to replace Cristiano. They are concerned because they can’t quite work out how we are going to compensate for all the goals Cristiano used to get for us.
“But I am more than happy with our squad and although we have lost a major player, I believe we are on the threshold of a very exciting era for Manchester United.”