Roberto Martinez has displayed an inclination to shop abroad since taking charge at the DW Stadium last summer, with just one English player, former Crystal Palace forward Victor Moses, amongst his 12 new signings.
But Whelan has defended Latics' approach, insisting buying foreign players is the only way to ensure the club's Premier League safety.
"Our priority here must be to keep this club in the Premier League and we will do whatever it takes to achieve that," Whelan told The Sun.
"I would love to see a lot more English players in our side - and also in every other Premier League team.
"But the sad fact is that there is an alarming dearth of talent out there.
"It is not a question of whether players in the Championship and elsewhere represent good value. It is down to a lack of quality.
"That is why clubs like ourselves shop abroad."
Whelan insists Wigan would have no problem enlisting an English player that met the same standard as their foreign imports.
"If you can show me players who are as good over here, I'll happily open the cheque-book," added Whelan.
"I don't believe you will manage that, because, believe me, we have looked long and hard."