In recent seasons both Manchester City—who won the prize with 100 points last term—and Liverpool—who splashed out more than any Premier League team this summer—have moved to bring in some star quality to their squads.
When asked about the prospect of United challenging at the top again, Mourinho suggested some sanctions in line with Financial Fair Play (FFP) may be needed to make the Red Devils contenders, per James Ducker of the Daily Telegraph:
“I don't know [when United will challenge for the title]. It depends on our evolution but also others' evolution. If the ones above us keep going in the same direction, and if their ambition and investment is continuous, that's one thing. Another thing is if they stop, or if the Financial Fair Play makes them stop, and then we can close the gap a little bit better."
Mourinho was also asked specifically about the prospect of UEFA punishing Manchester City for breaking FFP laws. "The world is full of suggestions and I never know if they are true or not true, and that's not my job to analyse that," he said.
Per Ducker, UEFA said there is a "concrete case" against City amid allegations they got around FFP regulations; if found guilty of wrongdoing they could potentially face a transfer embargo or even expulsion from the 2019-20 Champions League.
While Mourinho is clearly unhappy with the amount of money being splashed by certain clubs, United aren't paupers when it comes to the transfer market, per Oliver Holt of the Mail on Sunday:
Oliver Holt @OllieHolt22
Mendes' statement on Mourinho is a joke. 'The club is very happy with him." Yeah, right. Happy to have the highest wage bill in the league and be eighth. Happy to clinging on to the idea of finishing 4th. Sounds more like opening salvo in battle to get Mourinho a full pay-off.
Since arriving at Old Trafford the Portuguese coach has been backed in the transfer market. In his first pre-season in charge the Red Devils snapped up Paul Pogba for a club-record fee, while Romelu Lukaku and Fred have followed in subsequent summers in more big-money deals.
However, despite the trio aforementioned being available for the clash against Arsenal on Wednesday, none of them were in the XI. Pogba and Lukaku were on the bench, whereas Fred wasn't even included in the squad.
Kaveh Solhekol of Sky Sports News said recently that Mourinho needs to do better given his outlay on players:
Regardless of whether UEFA take any action against any other Premier League sides, there's little doubt that Mourinho must do more with the players at his disposal. So far, none of his big-money signings have been a surefire success, nor have any benefitted from his coaching.
Already United are a massive 18 points back on City and 16 behind Liverpool, which is indicative of the gulf in class between these sides at the moment. United sit down in eighth spot ahead of Week 16 of the Premier League season and face a real battle if they're to make it into the top six this term.