Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas had admitted he is unlikely to raid his former club Porto this summer to sign Joao Moutinho.
Moutinho has been linked with Spurs for a number of weeks as the North London club look to replace Luka Modric, who is closing in on a move to Real Madrid.
Villas-Boas and the 25-year-old midfielder worked together at Porto, but like many of the Portuguese club's players, he is thought to have a hefty release clause of over £30million in his contract.
Spurs will have money to spend from Modric's sale, but they are also hoping to use some of the expected fee from Real to add a much-needed striker.
And for that reason, Villas-Boas admits signing Moutinho is unlikely, as he told a press conference: "It will be very difficult to sign him.
"I have experience of Porto and it is a club that sells good products but they are expensive.
"It has been like that with numerous amounts of players and that is why it is very difficult."
Another target, Rennes' Yann M'Vila, is also unlikely to be joining the White Hart Lane club.
"He is an interesting player, but I don't think he will join Tottenham," Villas-Boas said. "The player is a player of defensive characteristics.
"We had initial interest in M'Vila but we have moved on from that one and are now looking for a more creative player."
Of more pressing concern to Villas-Boas is Tottenham's lack of firepower.
Jermain Defoe is the only recognised forward on the club's books, while talks are on-going over a permanent transfer for Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor.
Spurs are understood to have agreed a deal with the Premier League champions, but the player's £175,000 a week wage demands are reported to be preventing a move from going through.
Villas-Boas insists it is important that Spurs act cautiously and do not puncture their wage structure just to sign the striker, who was a big hit at White Hart Lane last term.
"We are trying to be more sensible," said Villas-Boas, who takes Tottenham to Newcastle on Saturday.
"I think the chairman is in contact with the player regularly and Manchester City.
"There is no news. Everyone knows the chairman likes to keep things on a reasonable level in terms of what we spend. He has been very sensitive on that."