Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson feels Manchester City will find it difficult to break into the top four this season, despite their massive summer outlay.
Backed by the riches of the Abu Dhabi United Group, City are seen as credible challengers for a UEFA Champions League place and have even been tipped to mount a Premier League title push.
City's spending ahead of the new campaign dwarfs that of locals rivals United, while Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool have also been relatively frugal in comparison.
Arsenal are expected to have most to fear from City, but Ferguson believes money will not guarantee a disruption of the traditional top four in the table.
"It is difficult for any side to break into the top four with the consistency and the quality of the teams," said Ferguson.
"Over the last few years those teams have competed for the semi-finals and finals of European Cups. It is great consistency and a great level of performance.
"I think everyone in Europe recognises the league in England is strong, although some people are talking about Real Madrid and Barcelona starting to dominate again. I have my doubts about that."
City have raised the bar in the transfer market by buying the likes of Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Adebayor, Carlos Tevez, Roque Santa Cruz and Gareth Barry.
Ferguson added: "Ourselves, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal are looking at what is happening there with great interest in how it will pan out.
"You look at the money that has been spent - every week City are on the back pages.
"None of us have gone into the market in a big way. In fact we sold players. It has been really quiet with the big four."