Can anyone compete with the Mourinho-Abramovich axis?

The Chelsea owner has shown significant faith in the Portuguese's philosophy, spending around 80 million pounds on Diego Costa, Filipe Luis, Cesc Fabregas and Didier Drogba.
With less than two weeks to go until the start of the new Premier League season, the top flight’s title hopefuls have all been busy in the transfer market.

Manchester United has spent close to 60 million pounds on two players as it begins life under Louis van Gaal. Arsenal has caught the eye with the signings of Alexis Sanchez, Mathieu Debuchy, Calum Chambers and David Ospina. Champion Manchester City has supplemented its squad well, while Liverpool has lost Luis Suarez but made a number of signings to equip itself for the Champions League.

But it is Chelsea, Jose Mourinho and Roman Abramovich who have arguably made the biggest statement of intent in the transfer window this summer.

Mourinho repeatedly dismissed suggestions his side was a title contendes last season; his “little horse” needed to “learn how to jump” and was not yet ready to challenge for the Premier League crown, he said.

Mourinho was proven right – Chelsea finished third, behind Liverpool and City – and "the Special One" has wasted little time in rebuilding what now has the potential to be a very special squad.

The Blues did most of the leg work in securing a 35 million pound deal to sign Diego Costa, the striker central to Atletico Madrid’s unprecedented La Liga title victory and run to the Champions League final, long before last season had drawn to a close.

Diego Costa | The Atletico Madrid striker was prolific in La Liga

Costa was soon followed to Stamford Bridge by Atleti teammate Filipe Luis, the uncompromising £15.8m left back signed to replace the outgoing Ashley Cole, whose contract was allowed to expire at the end of the season.

And in landing Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona in a 30 million pound transfer, Chelsea has signed a player Mourinho has described as “the missing piece” to his squad, a midfielder supremely talented and capable of facilitating swift-moving counterattacks with his vision and passing ability.

Didier Drogba, too, has returned to Chelsea, whose spending has now topped 80 million pounds. A summer of heavy investment has once again been bankrolled by the club’s billionaire owner Abramovich.

It was Mourinho whom Abramovich charged with fronting the blue revolution at Stamford Bridge following the sacking of Claudio Ranieri, a year after he had taken control of the club in 2003.

Mourinho brought with him instant success. With a side expensively constructed and featuring Ricardo Carvalho and Paulo Ferreira - who followed the former Porto coach to Stamford Bridge - Drogba and Arjen Robben, Chelsea won back-to-back Premier League titles, the FA Cup and two League Cups between 2005 and 2007.

But the relationship between the pair deteriorated and, after a below-par start to the 2007-08 season, Mourinho was gone. The Portuguese’s reluctance to select Andrei Shevchenko, a 30 million pound Abramovich signing, was thought to have played a part, along with a disagreement over the club’s industrious if not entertaining playing style.

After seasons of managerial chopping and changing, however, Mourinho returned in 2013. Much has apparently changed between the pair.

Mourinho has been given the green light to deconstruct an expensively assembled squad. It was considered a baffling move by some, but Juan Mata was sold to Manchester United in January after failing to slot into the new Chelsea system, despite winning the club’s player of the year award two seasons in a row.

Mata vs Fabregas | 2013-14 league stats

Cult figure David Luiz has also departed for Paris Saint-Germain having played a bit-part role in Mourinho’s first season back at Stamford Bridge. The less extravagant likes of Andre Schurrle, Willian, Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah, meanwhile, have been brought in, while Eden Hazard and Oscar have had to adapt their games. There has been no suggestion of internal disagreements regarding any decision to adopt a certain playing style.

While United has signed Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw, the higher-ups at Old Trafford have thus far been unable to deliver Louis van Gaal any of his own primary targets. Elsewhere, Manchester City’s spending has been curtailed by Financial Fair Play restrictions and there is a feeling that, despite the statement signing of Alexis, Arsenal may still be lacking a midfield general.

Chelsea, meanwhile, has moved quickly and impressively. "We finished the market today," said Mourinho recently. "The transfer market closes Aug. 31 and we close on July 19. My club did a fantastic job, not just because of what we bought, but because we did it in almost record time."

Mourinho is happy with the business Chelsea has done, and the faith shown in his philosophy by Abramovich could now deliver the Premier League title back to Stamford Bridge for the first time since 2010.

This reassembled squad has been built very much in Mourinho’s image and enabled by Abramovich. If Chelsea fails to win the title this season, the Portuguese can have few excuses.

But the Blues are going to take some stopping.