Manchester City hero Gary Owen feels last week's results proved the club is spending wisely in the transfer market.
Some of Roberto Mancini's recruits are earning wages that even their illustrious neighbours United are not prepared to match.
But Owen contends City's 6-1 mauling of United at Old Trafford and the second string's 5-2 Carling Cup romp at Wolves proves it was money well spent.
He told the Sunday Mirror: "Pundits and critics have called City's players mercenaries and, of course, players want the best wages they can get.
"But they want also to be part of the best team in the world and they are showing they have the hunger and fight to achieve that.
"Over the years, United have paid out top fees. They paid £30m for Rio Ferdinand nine years ago and £31m for Dimitar Berbatov. They also paid Rooney the wages he wanted.
"Now, though, City have a squad of top players and the club has raised the bar, so it's up to United and the rest to respond."