Derby's new chief executive Trevor Birch insists the Rams will not commit "financial suicide" in a bid to keep the club in the Premier League.
But Birch, having witnessed first-hand the affects overspending had on Leeds United, is aware of the perils.
He told the Derby Evening Telegraph: "It is an incredibly difficult line to tread between the sporting business and the finance because you're almost forced to speculate in football.
"It's very easy to say something is rash or inspirational, depending on what the result is. You need to be sensible and realise you've got this element of speculation that is needed to achieve success. It's a very, very fine line.
"When you talk about mismanagement (at Elland Road), it's difficult to make that definitive pronouncement because, if you look at Leeds in the season when they were one or two points short of Champions League qualification, that might have made all the difference.
"They bought players that they thought were going to perform on the pitch, which perhaps didn't materialise but could have done.
"One man's judgement is that it was rash but another man will say it was worth the punt.
"It's such a fine line. I don't think you can be too judgemental."
Birch said the risk of falling into financial trouble was a threat clubs constantly had to live with.
"I think there's always a danger - not necessarily towards meltdown but you are constantly on the edge," said Birch.
"You have to exercise a certain amount of restraint to cover yourself accordingly.
"There's always the possibility that you are going to push the boat out and that might tip you over the edge if - and this is where the trouble starts - you don't achieve the performances on the pitch.
"It's the great unknown and the huge variable but that's what keeps us all coming back for more."