Sunderland boss Roy Keane has warned the club's board that he wants them to dig deep during the summer to attract top players to Wearside.
Keane has already confirmed his intention to bolster his squad on the back of securing their Premier League survival.
But Keane believes the Black Cats must spend more on wages to attract top players and has cited the examples of north-east rivals Middlesbrough and Newcastle United.
"I know for a fact that we pay nowhere near what the clubs nearby us do," he said.
"Just look at the players who have been at Newcastle and Boro in the last few years.
"I don't think Michael Owen is getting 20 grand a week and neither were Juninho, (Alen) Boksic or (Gaizka) Mendieta.
"If you want the top players, you have to pay them and we want to try and be in that market.
"I have spoken to one or two in the past who just didn't want to come to Sunderland because they were looking for big packages and to compete at the highest level in terms of challenging for trophies.
"This club's been chasing its tail in recent years, but that is what we have to try and change."
Meanwhile, Keane has revealed he intends to offer veteran Dwight Yorke a player-coach role at the Stadium of Light next season.