Scholes: City need silverware
Thanks to the huge influx of cash from Sheikh Mansour, City are now scrapping it out at the top of the table, along with United, Arsenal and Chelsea.
Yet the bookmakers still make them fourth favourites to claim their first championship since 1968 and for all the improvements made by the Eastlands outfit, Arsenal and Chelsea are the two clubs that spring into Scholes' mind as he assesses the challenge that lies ahead.
"They are definitely getting closer," said the former England star.
"Whether they are alongside Chelsea and Arsenal yet I am not sure. They would probably have to win something to become main rivals.
"But I am sure this year they will be fighting for it and the same will be true in years to come with more improvement."
What is also true is derby day has taken on a different meaning.
Whilst clashes with City have always been a stepping stone towards a bigger prize for their neighbours, the Blues tended to build the success of their entire season around such matches.
"It is more than local pride now," he said.
"We are both going for trophies and we are both main rivals for trophies.
"Years ago, they were in the bottom half of the league, or not even in it, and we were always red-hot favourites.
"Even then it didn't necessarily mean we were going to win, as results proved.
"And they have better quality players now, which just makes matches against City even more interesting."