Harry Redknapp claims Tottenham do not boast the spending power that would allow them to compete on a level transfer playing field with the likes of Chelsea.
Spurs have made the most of the resources available to them this season to keep themselves in the Premier League title hunt.
Building on their current third-place standing will require investment, though, with those around them expected to strengthen.
Redknapp has made a career out of dipping into the market at the right time, sometimes very late on, and he has refused to rule out further additions in January.
He is, however, in a difficult position, with the calibre of player that Spurs require in order to move forward also interesting their wealthier rivals.
On the likes of long-term target Gary Cahill, who appears set to join Chelsea from Bolton, Redknapp said: "It's difficult trying to beat Chelsea if you're going for the same player, because their wage structure would be on a different level to ours.
"If you're in for the same player, they'll blow you out of the water.
"I like Cahill, he's a good player. But if you make him an offer, then Chelsea can give him more. You can't really compete in terms of making him an offer.
"That's the problem. You are competing, trying to finish above them, but it's not easy."
Redknapp is always on the lookout for fresh faces, but he has attempted to distance himself from a collection of players currently being linked with moves to White Hart Lane.
On Blackburn duo Chris Samba and Junior Hoilett, he said: "I'm sure (Rovers boss) Steve Kean will want to hang on to them in their situation, but they are good players."
He has also sought to play down speculation suggesting that Spurs have already made a move for Santos' highly-rated Brazil international Ganso.
"I've never heard of him," said Redknapp.