Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio claims the addition of another midfielder would be the priority if he dips back into the transfer market.
Di Canio has already received considerable backing from owner Ellis Short this summer, with 10 fresh faces drafted into the Stadium of Light.
There may, however, be further arrivals before the window slams shut.
Sunderland have been heavily linked with Juventus full-back Paolo De Ceglie in recent days, but Di Canio says his focus is locked further up the field.
He told the Sunderland Echo: "If we can bring in only one player, without selling (Stephane) Sessegnon, it would have to be absolutely a central midfielder.
"If we can bring two - it would be a central midfielder and a winger, and then if three players, a central midfielder, a winger and a left-back."
While he would like to open the chequebook again before 2nd September, Di Canio appreciates that financial limitations may keep his hands tied.
He added: "What would be perfect for me would be a left-back, two central midfielders, a winger and another spare man - that would be five players.
"That would be perfect but there has already been a revolution - we have spent money and we need to be sensible in this moment.
"This is the reality of the situation and it is not a criticism. We have to be honest and intelligent and we need to have balance.
"I cannot criticise the club because they already spent money. But obviously if they can make more sacrifices it would be better for the club because we would be a better side, suffer less, finish better in the league and help the company.
"I know Ellis has no problem in terms of money but the club in general can be better.
"In my opinion, these are worthwhile investments in the long run, but we will see. We have a strategy to work with what we can do."