John Cross told The Sunday Supplement that Manchester City's early forays into the transfer market could ensure they land this term's Premier League title.
New Citizens chief Manuel Pellegrini has snapped up Sevilla attacking duo Alvaro Negredo and Jesus Navas, Fiorentina frontman Stevan Jovetic and Shakhtar Donetsk engine-roomer Fernandinho since arriving from Malaga earlier this summer.
And while Mirror man Cross says question marks remain over the Chilean's ability to perform at the highest level, he thinks Pellegrini can help his star-studded squad regain the trophy that they lost to bitter rivals Manchester United last campaign.
"I think he has done really well," Cross said of Pellegrini, who has enjoyed managerial stints in La Liga at Real Madrid and Villarreal, as well as spells in charge of a host of South American outfits, including Argentina's River Plate and San Lorenzo.
"The one thing that baffles me in preparation for a new season is when clubs sign a player at the last minute; it makes no sense when you are trying to find you best formation and best line-up.
"But Man City and Pellegrini have bucked the trend and done their business early; they have spent an awful lot of money but they have spent it on impressive players, like Navas and Jovetic.
"I have slight doubts over Pellegrini in that he spent an awful lot of money at Real Madrid and didn't win anything and has never won a major trophy in Europe, but if he can get the best out of his squad, they will be a team to stop.
"I think they or Chelsea will win the title but I've got a sneaky feeling that, because of the quality within the squad, City might just nick it."
The Sunday Telegraph's Jason Burt added: "I think [the no-trophy argument] is unfair, as Pellegrini did very well in the very competitive Argentinian league and has done well in Spain.
"He didn't win anything [during his one season] at Real Madrid but they got a then-record points total and were up against probably one of the best teams [of all time] in Barcelona.
"We are sometimes a bit narrow in our thinking and have to look at the overall work he has done at the club's he has been at and I think he did very well at Malaga and Villarreal.
"You never know whether he might find England too intense and it too hard to manage with such a fast flow of games, but City are going to be really exciting and score - and concede - lots of goals."
Roberto Martinez, like Pellegrini, will be leading a fresh set of players this term after leaving 2012-2013 FA Cup winners Wigan to replace new Manchester United manager David Moyes at Everton.
Cross noted that the Spaniard could get the Toffees playing an aesthetic brand of football but fears he could struggle to mirror Moyes' achievements - especially if some of his key men depart before the transfer window bolts shut.
"I find it staggering that as well as he did in winning the FA Cup, he took a team down and got one of the plum jobs in English football," Cross said of Martinez, who signed a four-year deal in June to take charge at Goodison Park.
"He plays very nice football, is charming, conducts himself well and is a bit of a media darling, but we will now know just how good a manger he is; [Wigan chairman]Dave Whelan says he's one of the best in the world and now we will see if that's the case.
"There are huge expectations on Martinez to try and follow Moyes and push for that fifth or sixth position and perhaps even that annual pilgrimage towards the top four.
"But I think he faces a battle to keep players like [Marouane] Fellaini and [Leighton] Baines and if he loses that quality, he will have his work cut out."