Burnley must stretch their finances if they are to maintain their current status, according to boss Sean Dyche.
Dyche’s position has been under scrutiny this week after chairman Mike Garlick ignored his advice to secure senior players on extended contracts.
He has two years left on his contract but has refused to confirm he will still be at Turf Moor next season.
“It’s a vicious circle, getting in front of the curve costs a lot of money,” the 48-year-old said.
“That’s why, for two-and-a-half years I have been talking about stretching it. It’s not about breaking it, I would never do that. No way would I rip it up.
“But can we stretch it? Yes, I think we can. Does it need stretching? Yes, it does. You can’t, forever, work on a net spend of £9m-a-year. It is not impossible but it is improbable that is going to work over a long period.”
Dyche has been in charge for seven-and-a-half years, with Burnley set to play in the Premier League for a fifth successive season next term.
The club had a net spend of £20m on new players last summer, when they signed Bristol City skipper Josh Brownhill, defender Erik Peters and striker Jay Rodriguez.
However, for the previous three years, the overall figure was less than £11m after Andre Gray and Michael Keane were sold to Watford and Everton, respectively.
Dyche’s future has been questioned previously, particularly around vacancies at Leicester and West Ham. However, as he points out: “I am still here”.
“People have got bored with linking me with other clubs, now they are linking me with no club,” he said. “I am the only one who knows what is going on. No-one else does.”
The departure of highly regarded chief executive Dave Baldwin to the English Football League earlier this month has already created some uncertainty at the club, and Dyche’s relationship with Garlick has been strained by the failure to secure the future of Jeff Hendrick who, Dyche jokingly said, might be an answer to his current personnel issues in midfield.
“It’s not an easy ride, all of this,” he said. “We have to scour for players, we’re constantly trying to find the right ones and we’re trying to get the finance to do that.
“We know over time we lose players because the chairman and the board want to make money on players so that’s another adaptation we have to work around.
“Year on year it is difficult. But the challenge gets tougher because some clubs throw more caution to the wind.
“This club does not want to do that, or hasn’t in my time here. Nothing is set in stone. We’ll have to wait and see what comes next.”