Mourinho: Wenger has spent big, and Arsenal can win the title

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho believes Arsenal are ready to challenge for the Premier League crown this season.

Arsene Wenger has delivered three Premier League titles since replacing BruceRioch 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.

[ANALYSIS: Chelsea v Arsenal: Who Have Spent More In The Transfer Market]

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 £100 million 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.

“Get a calculator. That is one of the easiest things to do. It leaves no space for speculation. If you want to be honest, objective and pragmatic it is the easiest job for a manager or a journalist to do.

“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 contender.”

Chelsea begin their title defence at home against Swansea on the opening day of the new Premier League season on Saturday, August 8.

Arsenal host West Ham at the Emirates Stadium a day later.