Paul Scholes will not view Manchester City as Premier League title rivals until the Eastlands outfit have claimed some silverware.
Manchester United go into Saturday's lunchtime derby showdown at Old Trafford with the duo battling for the title along with Arsenal and Chelsea.
Sheikh Mansour's millions have helped City emerge as a force to be reckoned with in England, but Red Devils midfielder Scholes still sees the Gunners and the Blues as their regular foes.
"They are definitely getting closer," said the former England international.
"Whether they are alongside Chelsea and Arsenal yet I am not sure. They would probably have to win something to become main rivals.
"But I am sure this year they will be fighting for it and the same will be true in years to come with more improvement."
Scholes knows that the dynamics of derby day have changed dramatically in recent years due to City's stunning spending power in the transfer market and lofty ambitions.
"It is more than local pride now," he said. "We are both going for trophies and we are both main rivals for trophies.
"Years ago, they were in the bottom half of the league, or not even in it, and we were always red-hot favourites.
"Even then it didn't necessarily mean we were going to win, as results proved.
"And they have better quality players now, which just makes matches against City even more interesting."
Meanwhile, Red Devils winger Nani sees beating City as "an obligation" ahead of their crunch clash.
City visit Old Trafford looking to close the gap between themselves and United, who lost their first game of the campaign against Wolves last weekend.
Nani, though, insists that result was just a blip and is desperate to get back on track against Roberto Mancini's side.
He told The Sun: "The defeat at Wolves was an accident. It left pain in the dressing room but one week later we have the chance to return joy to our fans.
"A win over City is an obligation. To beat them will put a big distance between us in the title race and also mean we have taken four points off them this season.
"I've always been optimistic and insist we are favourites to win the Premier League."
One man who stands between them more than most, though, is former United favourite Carlos Tevez, who is now spearheading City's title challenge.
"Carlos was our companion and now he is a rival," Nani added. "How do we stop him? By anticipating what he's up to and making sure he never feels comfortable.
"For the less he is involved the bigger the advantage for us. We are not obsessed with him but we will make sure we do not give him any chances.
"Without doubt Tevez is very important to City. But they have other players who are also big dangers to us."