Mourinho has taken Chelsea's spending to new heights after splashing out £23.2m on the Blues' latest signing Didier Drogba - smashing the club's transfer record.

But Ferguson insists the art of winning titles is not down to how fat the owner's wallet is, and more on the acumen of the manager.

He said in Wednesday's morning papers: "Money is not the issue. What matters is if they have picked the right players. That remains to be seen."

But the success of Blackburn Rovers in the early nineties, following the club's takeover by the local self-made millionaire Jack Walker, has proved that millions can buy success.

The money Walker made available to Rovers led to the appointment of former Anfield legend Kenny Dalglish as manager and high-profile signings like Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton, overturning the club's fortunes in just four years.

The slumbering giants emerged from lower-division obscurity in 1992 after earning Premiership promotion, before finishing runners-up to Manchester United in 1994 and becoming the first team to take the Premiership crown from Sir Alex's men in 1995.

Following Walker's takeover of the club in 1991 the steel magnate's first signing was Stuart Munro from Rangers for £700,000 but within a few months bigger names were arriving at Ewood Park as a total of £2m was spent on Colin Hendry, Gordon Cowans and Mike Newell.

By the end of the 1991-1992 season, the addition of Stuart Ripley from Middlesborough (£1.3m) and Alan Shearer (£3.6m) from Southampton, took the season's transfer bill to £9.36m - but the millions invested sealed Blackburn's promotion to the Premiership after 26 years outside top-flight football.

Nearly £17m was spent by the club in the next two seasons with the signing of stars like Graeme Le Saux, David Batty, Tim Flowers and in 1994, the record-breaking transfer to Ewood Park of striker Chris Sutton for a cool £5m.

The addition of Jeff Kenna for £1.5m in 1995 took money-bags Rovers' total spending to nearly £28m in four years. The Sutton-Shearer strike-force, worth £8.6m, may have been pricey for its time, but it did see Blackburn crowned champions for the first time in over 80 years.

But Rovers' suffered a backlash after this spell of sucess. Just four seasons later they were relegated back into the first division - perhaps providing a warning to Chelsea that millions can buy success, but only for so long.

But the money Rovers spent on success pales in comparison to the cash splashed by Chelsea since the Blues' takeover by Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich last summer.

The oil and metals tycoon has spent a total of £190m on players since his arrival at Stamford Bridge in July last year - £50m more than the £140m he paid for buying the club in the first place.

Last season alone Abramovich forked out a whopping £153m on 14 players, inlcuding Damien Duff (£17m), Claude Makelele (£16.6m), Paulo Ferreira (£13.2m) and Argentinian strikers Hernan Crespo(£16.8m) and Juan Veron (£15m).

But the flurry of cheque-book activity has yet to reap dividends, with Chelsea finishing Premiership runners-up last season, 10 points behind winners Arsenal.

The Blues have already got their transfer bill for the new season off to an impressive start.

Boss Mourinho has blown £37m so far, spending £32m in a single day to clinch Drogba and Portuguese international Tiago from Benfica for £8m. But whether the millions will translate into trophies - and whether Sir Alex will be proved wrong - remains to be seen.