Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho tips cap to Arsenal, ‘more than ready’ for title contention

'It's a fantastic squad with good players, fantastic goalkeeper' says Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho of London rivals Arsenal, whom he is tabbing as prime contenders for the 2015/16 season.

Jose Mourinho and champions Chelsea finished 12 points ahead of third-place Arsenal last season in the Premier League. John Sibley / Action Images / Reuters
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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 Bruce Rioch as manager in 1996, but the club 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 Mourinho’s men won the Premier League at a canter, but the Portuguese manager believes the arrival in recent years of the likes of Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Calum Chambers and Mathieu Debuchy for more than £100 million (Dh572m) means Wenger’s club 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 £11m 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.”

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

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

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