The Welsh boss inherited an ailing side quickly pieced together by Sven Goran Eriksson when he took to the helm at the start of the season.
Young gems Micah Richards, Joe Hart and Michael Johnson have proven themselves integral to the cause in the past, but even their futures now seem uncertain as Hughes looks to develop a side capable of challenging the top four.
As many as 17 players are thought to be under threat with Michael Ball, Darius Vassell, Danny Mills, Dietmar Hamann, Elano, Jo, Javier Garrido, Kasper Schmeichel, Gelson Fernandes, Felipe Caicedo, Benjani, Glauber Berti and Tal Ben-Haim all now facing the chop.
"In fairness there have been a few signings in the 18 months before I came to City where in-depth background checks weren't carried out," Hughes told the Daily Star.
"In the circumstances the club felt that they needed a big influx of players in a short period of time.
"We're now looking for an optimum number of top-quality players to carry us through a long, hard season. So we will look at the numbers.
"Some players will look at their own situation and feel that they won't get that many opportunities in the future.
"They might feel it's in their best interests to move on. I would imagine there are situations where I probably agree with them. It's all about making sure the club is stronger."