Arsenal can challenge for title
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho believes Arsenal are ready to challenge for the Barclays Premier League crown this season.
Arsene Wenger has delivered three Premier League titles since replacing Bruce Rioch as manager in 1996, but the Gunners have finished no higher than third in each of the last 10 seasons as the Frenchman often shunned big-money signings in favour of developing young talent.
Arsenal finished 13 points behind Chelsea last season as the Blues won the Premier League at a canter, but Mourinho believes the arrival in recent years of the likes of Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Calum Chambers and Mathieu Debuchy for more than £100million means the Gunners are ready to challenge for league honours.
"If you add up the amounts clubs have spent in the last three or four years I think maybe you will find a surprise," Mourinho, who allowed goalkeeper Petr Cech to join Arsenal in an £11million deal last month, said in the Guardian.
"If you put Ozil plus Alexis Sanchez, plus Chambers, plus Debuchy, you will find a surprise.
"It's a fantastic squad with good players, fantastic goalkeeper, they are more than ready to be a title contenders."
Speaking on Chelsea's pre-season tour of America, Mourinho also claimed that Eden Hazard had a better season last time out than Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.
Hazard won individual and team honours at the end of a stellar campaign - most notably the Premier League title and the PFA Player of the Year.
And, according to his manager, his performance level was higher than that of Ballon D'or winner Ronaldo.
In a number of national newspapers, he said: "Eden is coming with a big status now and was voted in the top 10 players in Europe last year. In my opinion he should be in the top three, not the top 10. I think he's the best player in our country. He's alongside Messi and Ronaldo, depending on the season they have.
"But they have to win some titles, no? Football without titles is nothing. Last season Eden was above Ronaldo, in spite of the fact that Ronaldo was fantastic and scored an incredible number of goals.
"I don't like players of managers to win individual trophies without the team. In my personal view, every football player in the world has to put the team first, but he has no titles."
Chelsea begin their title defence at home against Swansea on the opening day of the new Premier League season on Saturday, August 8.