MIKAEL Silvestre has launched an astonishing attack on Manchester City’s big spending.

The former Manchester United star, who made 249 appearances in nine years at Old Trafford, let loose on the Blues as the Manchester giants prepare to go head-to-head for the Premier League title again.

In a tirade of criticism of the Etihad club, he said City buy all their trophies, block the progress of young talent, are not liked by other supporters and do not have the “courage” of United.

He said the Blues would never be as popular as United because of the way they “buy titles” and “shut the door” on youth players.

The balance of power in Manchester shifted to City last season after they won the Premier League and finished some 22 points ahead of their local rivals.

After spending hundreds of millions of pounds, City have won two league titles, an FA Cup and a League Cup since Sheikh Mansour took over in 2008.

Silvestre said: “They just buy trophies. United are all about growing players.

“City buy multiple stars and shut the door to the youth system.

“United have more courage. They are a club with a family spirit.

“Those who come through the ranks absorb the mentality, the history of the club so they show the heritage in their performances.”

United and City will compete in the International Champions Cup in the United States over the next two weeks.

The club is growing in popularity across the globe, but Silvestre thinks they are still some way behind United.

The former defender believes football fans across the globe have been put off supporting City because of their hefty spending.

“The way they do their business, it doesn't get people to support them,” he claimed.

“They might win trophies here and there but they won't gain support. I have been travelling a lot for United in the last six months.

“I have been to Asia, and the support there is unbelievable and honestly City is nowhere near that.”

Speaking to Press Association Sport at an event organised by United's official time-keeper Bulova, the Frenchman added about United’s popularity in the USA: “Ten years ago you would come to the States and you would have some quiet time, but that's not the case anymore.

“Now you can't walk by yourself in New York or any other major city and not be recognised.”