AC Milan have admitted they would find it hard to turn down a huge bid for Kaka this summer.
The Brazilian, who has previously been linked with a move to the Premier League, is now believed to be a top target for Real Madrid.
A number of clubs outside Italy are also interested in teenage superstar Alexandre Pato and Milan general manager Adriano Galliani is realistic about the club's chances of keeping the pair.
However, Galliani intends to fight for the duo as part of a wider battle to prevent what could become a mass exodus from Italy.
He explained: "With the risk of sounding boring, if we continue like this, we will become a small league.
"We have had requests for Kaka and Pato from two of Europe's biggest clubs and we will try and resist the assault from these European clubs who have more money than us.
"But there is an uneven playing field.
"I remember when we signed (Marco) van Basten and we competed with Barcelona for his signature, and he chose us.
"Today, Barcelona and Real Madrid have an income which is double that of ours."
Clubs in England and Spain are able to offer more attractive wages due to more beneficial taxation rules and Galliani does not expect many top players to come to Italy in the near future.
He said: "In the mid to long term, players like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are not going to come here.
"Thierry Henry had the same offer from Milan than he did from Barcelona but he told us he could get 50% more in Spain, so he joined Barcelona.
"We have got to ask ourselves why nobody is thinking of coming here.
"The problem with Kaka and Pato is a bigger issue. You can discover any player you like but if you cannot pay them the wages of a big club, then they go somewhere else.
"That was the case with Cristiano Ronaldo with Sporting Lisbon and Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Ajax. They had to move on."
New Milan coach Leonardo also seemed unsure about whether Kaka would remain at his disposal.
He said: "I think that Kaka, like any world-class player, is always wanted by other clubs.
"He is a man who will always be in the market. I cannot deny that I hope he continues to play for us as he is a key player for this club.
"But it is normal that he is wanted on the market."