Mark McGhee hopes to land Motherwell's Jim O'Brien for free - and admitted Aberdeen can't buy anyone, reports the Scottish Sun. The Dons have opened talks to take the midfielder to Pittodrie under freedom of contract in the summer.
Well boss Jim Gannon would let former Celtic kid O'Brien go when the transfer window opens - but only for a £20,000 fee.
But McGhee insists his cash-strapped club can't even afford that and is prepared to wait.
He said: "We are attempting to persuade Jim to sign a pre-contract which would see him join us in the summer.
"He has told us through his agent that, while he's interested in what we have to say, he doesn't want anyone to question his commitment to Motherwell.
"He wants to keep giving his best while he is still at Fir Park, which is admirable.
"I doubt anything will happen soon as we haven't had any contact back from Motherwell.
"But from what I'm reading, if we want to take him in January they will require a small fee.
"Well we won't have a small fee to pay for him or anyone, which is why I am lining things up for summer.
"If something happens quicker than that then great, but I won't be holding my breath.
"We still hope to get Paul Marshall from Manchester City either on loan or if he's freed, but he looks like the only one.
"There's no money in the pot, but I knew that when I came here, so I'm not going to start bleating about it now.
"I'd love to have some money as there are players out there who would improve our chances of doing what we want to do.
"But we are not in that position, so we can't start moaning about it now."