Roberto Mancini claims he must move players on in January before finding himself in a position to be able to add to his Manchester City squad.
The Blues are not short of money, but they are aware of the need to rein in their spending.
With one eye on UEFA's Financial Fair Play demands, City know they cannot afford to keep splashing the cash without recouping some elsewhere.
Mancini is working with a big squad and there are a number of players on the fringes of the fold that could be moved on in the New Year.
City are planning to offload some of those deemed surplus to requirements, while they will once again scour the market for potential new recruits.
"We should sell some of our players before we do anything," said Mancini.
"After that maybe we can do something but at the moment there is nothing."
Mancini may decide to seek defensive and midfield cover, with Ivorian brothers Kolo and Yaya Toure set to head off to the African Cup of Nations.
City had been hoping to keep the pair in England until the middle of January, but it appears as though their last outing will come against Manchester United in an eagerly-anticipated FA Cup third round clash on 8th January.
Mancini says he is still discussing the possibility of delaying their departure, allowing them to figure in the first leg of a Carling Cup semi-final with Liverpool, but the Italian is pessimistic regarding his chances.
"It is difficult but I think they will leave us after United," he said.
"We have talked with their manager three days ago and will talk again with the Ivory Coast president.
"We will try but it is difficult."