The Welshman, who spent the majority of the summer trying to keep his best players, says he has drawn up a list of targets. And Manchester City duo Shay Given and Roque Santa Cruz are believed to be top of his list.
Hughes told the Ealing Gazette: "Things are being put into place so we can be proactive rather than reactive as we were last time.
"We spent time trying to hang on to Paul Konchesky. But when that didn't happen it was fortunate we had a viable option in Carlos Salcido straight away.
"Mousa Dembele was someone I had admired for a number of seasons - so when it was flagged up he might be available we moved very quickly. Sometimes negotiations can drag on for weeks - and sometimes they take 24 hours."