Manchester United a chief rival for title - Manchester City's Ilkay Gundogan

Ilkay Gundogan believes Manchester United's recruitment of Romelu Lukaku makes Man City's crosstown rivals one of their chief competitors for next season's Premier League title.

In an exclusive interview with ESPN FC, the Germany international listed out United, Chelsea and Liverpool all as contenders for top spot, but admitted that Leicester City proved in 2016 that any club has the ability to cause a surprise.

"Hopefully us. We will definitely try," Gundogan said when asked which team had the best chance at winning the Premier League. "We will try to do our best and achieve all of our targets and hopefully lift the trophy.

"United did a good job by signing Lukaku. They have a good team ... a young team as well. They are strong, really physical, so they seem to be better than last year.

"Chelsea [also] just signed a new striker, which I really like.

"Liverpool as well as a team -- especially with Klopp -- are who I also really like. They have a lot of potential. A great team and is also playing a different style of football. [They're] really difficult to control.

"It's obvious who the big teams in England are ... and who are the competitors for the Premier League title. Leicester was a bit of surprise two years ago. Maybe next year it will be another team, or even them again. So you never know!"

Gundogan, who joined Man City in a £20 million move from Dortmund in June 2016, says that the Premier League has become so competitive that clubs are growing the size of their squads to deal with the demands.

"The Premier League is crazy. It's the biggest league in Europe, in the world," he said. "[It's] the most challenging league for a team but also for a player.

"So you just need to be ready. The season is so long, you have so many games that you always need a big squad. A lot of players. That's why our squad at the moment is big and maybe will be even bigger.

"I'm quite sure that everybody will try and get the points out of every game. Every opponent will be difficult. We should just try to compete with everyone."

Gundogan and City open their Premier League campaign away at Brighton on Aug. 8.