Mark Hughes has warned that it might take Manchester City until the start of the 2010/11 season to become genuine Premier League title challengers.
City are expected to spend big in the January transfer window following their previous British record capture of £32million Brazilian Robinho back in August.
Hughes will be handed more funds courtesy of billionaire owner Sheikh Mansour's Abu Dhabi United Group but, with the club currently languishing in the bottom half of the table, the City boss has warned against expecting an immediate title challenge.
"We have not had the benefit of one transfer window yet," he said.
"We need to go through three or four before we can even suggest that we are going to challenge at the top end.
"There will come a point when everybody says 'this is the moment when we can have a real go'.
"We are nowhere near yet, everybody has to understand that."
Hughes has been linked with moves for Blackburn Rovers striker Roque Santa Cruz and West Ham United frontman Craig Bellamy next month.