Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho says Arsenal are ready to challenge for the Premier League title, but only because of Arsene Wenger's indulgent spending in the transfer market.
The two Premier League bosses are starting to form quite the rivalry ahead of what promises to be a title race to savour. Neither Mourinho or Wenger have got on well since the Portuguese first arrived in England in 2004 and nothing has changed since the Special One returned in 2013.
While Mourinho has certainly been more successful in recent years, winning three Premier League titles since Wenger's last victory in 2004, the Gunners boss has often cited the financial resources available at Stamford Bridge as a key reason for the gulf.
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Backed by Roman Abramovich, Mourinho has never been afraid to spend big in the transfer market but has been forced to balance the books since Uefa's introduction of financial fair play. In comparison, Wenger has seen the financial strains in north London alleviate, allowing him to sign the likes of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.
"If you put Mesut Ozil plus Alexis Sanchez, plus Calum Chambers, plus Mathieu Debuchy you will maybe find a surprise"
Now Mourinho, who never misses an opportunity to burst Wenger's balloon, believes his adversary has spent so much money that Arsenal are no longer to be labelled underdogs as the pair prepare to face off in the season-opening Community Shield.
Mourinho told reporters: “This is the easiest thing to do – I don’t do it. Get a calculator," before apparently making the sound of a cash till to confirm he was talking about money.
"Every club is different, we don’t need to speak about them but if you add up the amounts clubs have spent in the last three or four years I think maybe you will find a surprise.
"If you put Mesut Ozil plus Alexis Sanchez, plus Calum Chambers, plus Mathieu Debuchy you will maybe find a surprise. They have just bought a fantastic goalkeeper (Petr Cech) and that is a position which is very important in a team.
"It’s a fantastic squad with good players, a fantastic goalkeeper, they are more than ready to be a title contenders."
Mourinho certainly has a short memory if he believes Arsenal are now the biggest spenders in Premier League. He may have done well to balance Chelsea's books, but Mourinho has still spent £240million on transfer fees since returning in 2013. Arsenal, in comparison, have spent around £150m in that time.
But Mourinho's lust for buying readymade stars goes back beyond his current spell at Chelsea and,during the period between 2004 and 2014, the Portuguese has spent more than any other football manager in the world.
As the list confirms, during this spell, which includes Wenger's £100m spree last summer, Mourinho has still managed to spend more than double what the Arsenal manager has.
Is Jose Mourinho right to criticise Arsene Wenger's spending at Arsenal?
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