Managers at war: Arsenal vs Chelsea, Mourinho vs Benitez
Gunners boss shrugs off Mourinho claims as Portuguese goes after Real Madrid's new manager
If the phony war is anything to go by we could be in for a Premier League season to savour, as the managerial sniping escalates in the run up to the new campaign.
So far this summer Man City boss Manuel Pellegrini has attacked Jose Mourinho of Chelsea for "taking all the credit" for his team's achievements; Arsene Wenger of Arsenal has accused Manchester United of chasing "short-term success" with big-money signings; and Mourinho has hit back at both Pellegrini and Wenger.
In the latest instalment of the playground name-calling, Wenger has responded to Mourinho, while the Portuguese, so often the common denominator in managerial spats, opened up a new European front by throwing a couple of verbal grenades at his old adversary Rafa Benitez, now at Real Madrid.
Wenger, who was told to "get a calculator" by Mourinho earlier in the week after suggesting that Arsenal did not spend as much on players as their rivals, reacted by aping the Chelsea manager's language and pointing to the Gunners' track record of producing home-grown players.
"If you make real statistics of the players we have developed here, and you compare them to all the other clubs, you would be surprised,” he said. "We spend when we think we have to spend and do not listen too much to what people think or say."
The inference, says The Times, "may have been that only John Terry has come through the ranks to establish himself in the first team at Stamford Bridge in more than a decade", and the paper also points out that Arsenal's net spend on transfers since 2010 is £63.5m, compared to £275.3m at Chelsea.
Whether Mourinho was listening is unclear, as the Chelsea manager has now got embroiled in what the Daily Telegraph calls a "remarkable" row over the diet of new Real Madrid manager Rafa Benitez.
The bizarre row erupted when Benitez's wife made a joke at Mourinho's expense, pointing out that Real Madrid was the third former Mourinho club that Benitez had managed, after he spent spells at Inter Milan and Chelsea. "We tidy up his messes," she told Spanish paper La Region.
Mourinho was not amused however, and warned her to spend more time worrying about her husband's weight. During his time as Liverpool boss, Benitez acquired the nickname 'fat Spanish waiter'among terrace wags.
"The lady is a bit confused, with all respect. I'm not laughing," said the Portuguese. "The only club where her husband [directly] replaced me was at Inter Milan, where in six months he destroyed the best team in Europe at the time.
"I think the lady needs to occupy her time and if she takes care of her husband's diet she will have less time to speak about me."