David Sullivan has claimed he has offered a "special player" a £100,000-a-week contract to move to West Ham.
The new Hammers co-owner admitted this week the club are £110million in debt, but said he would be willing to pay out big wages to one "exceptional" signing.
"We've offered £100,000-a-week to a player today and we are still not sure we are going to get him," he told BBC Radio Five Live on Thursday evening.
"That was a very special player.
"There's no transfer fee involved and he's got the choice of almost every club in Europe. He has played at the highest level.
"He's down to three clubs and West Ham are the only English club still in the hunt for him. Whether we get him is another thing."
Sullivan did not mention the player involved. Real Madrid striker Ruud van Nistelrooy has been linked with a move to Upton Park, with Tottenham and Stoke also reportedly interested in the 33-year-old.
Sullivan admitted West Ham, who are 16th in the Barclays Premier League, are desperate for a player who can make an immediate impact.
He said: "We can carry one exceptional player, who would make a difference on that wage, but generally we have to bring the wages down and in the summer we would hope to sign younger players on a fraction of those wages.
"We have looked at a few players in the Championship but the reality is that it is no good if they make the grade in 12 months' time, we need them to make the grade now."