David Beckham says Manchester United will always be the team to beat in the Barclays Premier League, regardless of how much money rival English clubs spend.
However, the 36-year-old former England international midfielder admitted that near neighbours Manchester City, who have emerged as a top contender, could pose a realistic threat this season.
"They're [City] bringing good players in, they've got strong people with a lot of money behind them, so they're going to improve," said Beckham. "But they'll never be Manchester United.
"They might be a threat this season, but United have got the history, the silverware over the last 20 years. There's only one team in Manchester, but City I'm sure will be a team to look at going forward."
Beckham also raked up a sore spot between the two Manchester clubs, when discussing the future of Argentinian striker Carlos Tevez.
"Tevez was a really strong player for them last season, so if they lose him it will be disappointing," he continued.
"But they've got a lot behind them as an organisation, so they can afford to bring world class players in. If they continue to do that I'm sure they'll be strengthened."
Beckham was speaking ahead of LA Galaxy's friendly against City on Sunday, a game he may miss due to back problems, but ended on a positive note by acknowledging Sir Alex Ferguson's tried and tested transfer policy compared to the often 'gun-ho' approach of their rivals.
"Any player that Manchester United sign has got to be a good player," he concluded. "They've got to fit in with the Man Utd way of thinking.
"Sir Alex is great at that, he always gets players that fit into the Man Utd mould."