Alex McLeish admits Birmingham City's wage structure would 'go to pot' if he tried to sign the likes of Kenwyne Jones or Roman Pavlyuchenko.
Armed with a transfer kitty of up to £40million from owner Carson Yeung, Blues boss McLeish has been linked with big-money deals during the January window.
To date, Spanish midfielder Michel has arrived from Sporting Gijon, while the versatile Craig Gardner is set to complete a move from local rivals Aston Villa.
Sunderland striker Jones and Tottenham misfit Pavlyuchenko have also been mooted as targets for McLeish as he looks to build on an excellent first half of the season.
However, while McLeish is eager to continue the forward momentum at St Andrews, the Scot is wary about spending too much on player salaries.
"If we are going to make a huge bid for anyone, I'll still try to do it within our wage parameters," said McLeish. "We know we have to move it onwards.
"But if you are talking about people like Kenwyne Jones or Roman Pavlyuchenko, I don't think we need to make too giant a step.
"The wage structure would go to pot.
"If you sign players on a certain contract, that may not be a problem. But it's when the next player comes along who's got a contract issue.
"That is when the problem starts. It has got to be a gradual evolution."