Jose Mourinho has stressed that Manchester United are no longer in a position to just sign their rivals' best players every season due to the increased competition in the Premier League, taking a swipe at Bayern Munich and the Bundesliga in the process.
The Old Trafford side regularly raided their competitors during Alex Ferguson's time in charge of the club, but Mourinho has warned such transfers have become nearly impossible these days, whereas Bayern still employ that exact strategy in Germany.
"That is the new football. When previously you were speaking about Sir Alex Ferguson's time, this is not Germany," Mourinho was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.
"In Germany, Bayern Munich start winning the league in the summer. They go to Borussia Dortmund every year and buy their best player. One day they go there and get Robert Lewandowski. The next year, they go there, Mario Gotze. The next year they go there, Mats Hummels. So they win the league in the summer.
"Do you think I can go to Tottenham and bring two Tottenham players to kill Tottenham? I cannot. I cannot go to Arsenal and bring the two best Arsenal players. I cannot go to Chelsea and bring two of the players that I love very very much. That time is over.
"That time is over so the situation of starting being champion by attacking your direct opponents in this country is over. It is over and if you get a player from these clubs, you get a player that club does not want to keep. You cannot hurt any more your direct opponents.
"Obviously Real Madrid sell who they want to sell, Barcelona sell who they want to sell, Bayern Munich sell who they want to sell, Paris Saint-Germain sell who they want to sell. So then it is more difficult to have a very good market."