CHARLOTTE - Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has accused his English Premier League rivals of attempting to buy the title.
He believes the tables have turned more than a decade after the Blues - backed by Russian owner Roman Abramovich's billions since his takeover in 2003 - were said to have bought success.
The Portuguese first led the London club to the league title in 2004-05 during his first period in charge at Stamford Bridge.
That season, he signed Didier Drogba, Ricardo Carvalho, Paulo Ferreira and Arjen Robben for £95.8 million (S$204 million).
This off-season has been quiet for the Blues, however, with just the signings of Asmir Begovic and Radamel Falcao.
Neither are expected to be in Mourinho's starting XI.
In contrast, Manchester City have splashed out £49 million on Raheem Sterling while also spending £8 million on Fabian Delph.
Manchester United have splashed £76.7 million on the quartet of Memphis Depay, Matteo Darmian, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Morgan Schneiderlin.
Liverpool recently took their summer spending to £80 million following a £32.5 million acquisition of Christian Benteke.
Not since 2011, when Chelsea paid Liverpool a British-record £50 million for Fernando Torres, have the Blues forked out that much on one individual.
"In the beginning of Mr Abramovich coming to Chelsea, Chelsea was buying the title," Mourinho said in North Carolina, where his side beat Paris Saint-Germain 6-5 on penalties. Their International Champions Cup tie on Saturday ended 1-1.
"Now, they are buying the title. All of them, they are buying the title. It is up to us to be strong and to fight them and, obviously, to try and win it again, even without the big investments."
Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave PSG the lead against a sluggish Chelsea side on Saturday.
But Mourinho's men rediscovered some vigour and verve in the second period and Victor Moses put them level on 64 minutes.
Thibaut Courtois scored from the penalty spot to seal the shoot-out win.
Chelsea play European champions Barcelona in their last International Champions Cup match in Washington tomorrow.