Patrick Vieira believes there is no reason why Manchester City cannot win the Premier League this season.
And Vieira, Manchester City's football development executive, says this season's title race will be the most open there has ever been.
"The league is more exciting now than ever and there are six teams that can win it," Vieira told BBC Sport.
"City are now as good as United, Arsenal and Chelsea and we should not be afraid to say we can win the title."
City, who finished third last season, are about to embark on their first season in the Champions League and have continued to strengthen, with Sergio Aguero and Gael Clichy joining in big-money transfers, and Samir Nasri reportedly close to a move.
Vieira, 35, won three Premier League titles with Arsenal and believes City are now in a perfect position to emulate that feat.
"It will not be easy but I think people can count on City being there right until the end. If you look at the quality of the team and how City have improved over the last few years, we can now challenge to win the Premier League," Vieira said.
"We are improving a lot and some fantastic players have joined us this summer and we are strong enough to compete at the top."
The former Inter Milan and Juventus midfielder believes City's summer signings will help make the difference between last season's third-place finish and challenging for the title.
"Sergio Aguero is a goalscorer and can make a difference in the big games. When the players look around and see him it will give them the confidence that will help them win," said Vieira, who spent 18 months playing at the Etihad Stadium before retiring.
"Gael Clichy is another excellent signing and a player that will improve the team further.
"The top six are stronger than ever but the other teams are really competitive. Manchester United - or anyone else - can lose games anywhere. It will be a really open season.
"It's exciting because it could be a fantastic season ahead for the football club and I can't wait to see the team perform."