Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini believes that with the acquisition of Robin van Persie, Manchester United now boast the best strikeforce in world football.
It was confirmed on Friday that Van Persie's move from Arsenal to United was complete, with the Dutchman putting pen to paper on a four-year deal at Old Trafford. He joins a forward line that already includes Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez, and which as far as Mancini is concerned, is unparalleled at the moment.
"I think it is the best four strikers in the world," Mancini - who has the considerably potent striking quartet of Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez, Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko at his own disposal - said. "Last year our four strikers did better than other strikers, but we need to work harder than last year because this year United, with Van Persie, are better."
The capture of last season's Golden Boot winner Van Persie represents a bold statement of intent on the part of United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who is on a mission in 2012-13 to reclaim the Barclays Premier League crown his side were pipped to in dramatic fashion by their derby rivals City in May.
Last Friday Mancini labelled Ferguson's men as favourites to win the title this term, and speaking a week on at a press conference to preview City's league campaign-opening home clash with Southampton on Sunday, he made it clear his feeling on the matter had only grown stronger.
Asked if it was even more so the case that United should have the favourites tag with Van Persie among their ranks, Mancini said: "Yes, for sure, and I was serious when I said this last week because United have played for the title always, every year for 20 years.
"Although we won the last championship, we can't change this in one year.
"For this reason, I think they are favourites for the title, and now they have Van Persie."
Questions have been raised over the reported Â£24million fee for Van Persie, who is 29 and has suffered with injury problems in the past, but Mancini is in no doubt that United are better off for having the Holland striker.
He said: "I think Van Persie is one of the best strikers in the world. I am sure they are better with him. Anybody who bought him would be better.''