Mark Hughes insists he has alternative targets should he fail to land either John Terry or Joleon Lescott.
Manchester City's unprecedented spending this summer shows no sign of slowing, with bids having been rejected for the defensive duo.
Speaking after his side lost the final match of their pre-season tour of South Africa 1-0 against Kaizer Chiefs, Hughes said he is only interested in bringing in players better than those already at the City of Manchester Stadium.
"We're in the market for good players that we think will improve us," he said. "If we can bring them to the club, then we'll be very delighted.
"But a lot of the good players out there are at good clubs and clubs that don't have to do business with us.
"It's a case of saying what's available, what we can bring to the football club to improve. If the only players that are available are players that won't improve us to any great extent, then we go with what we have.
"Because it doesn't make sense to bring players in that are at a same level, we need to bring players in that are at a better level."
Terry has looked like the prime target of Hughes all summer and asked whether the silence over the issue by the England captain had convinced him even further that the player would be interested in a move, he said: "I have no idea.
"John Terry is a player not at the club, who I keep having to answer questions about. We made a bid for a player that was rejected and that's where we stand at this moment in time.
"Irrespective of what his club does or what John does, we can have no influence on that and that's where we are really."
City have already made major inroads in the transfer market this summer, bringing in Roque Santa Cruz, Carlos Tevez, Gareth Barry and Emmanuel Adebayor, the latter pair featuring in Saturday's game against Chiefs in Pretoria.
Following the arrival of those top names, there is also likely to be additional pressure on Hughes to deliverer and he knows the stakes are high.
He continued: "There's been a lot of speculation and debates over a lot of things in connection to Manchester City.
"I've said before, last year expectations were too high for us to fulfil. This year we hope to do better in that respect, we hope to obviously have a squad of players that will compete and do very well.
"Every manager has an expectation on them and I'm no different from any manager in the Premier League or South African football. The pressure is always there to win football matches and we live with that on a daily basis.
"Maybe last year I lived with that more than most, but I'm quite comfortable with that as an expectation. It's something that we deal with quite regularly and it doesn't worry me unduly. It's part and parcel of being a football manager."