Sven-Goran Eriksson has warned he will need to spend big if Manchester City are to break into Europe's top echelons.
City owner Thaksin Shinawatra has backed the Swede unequivocally in the transfer market thus far in his tenure, and it is expected to be another summer of heavy spending at Eastlands.
Eriksson concedes those at the Premier League summit are at present light years ahead of his own charges, but it is a situation he is keen to rectify.
"Do we want to be second class or do we want to be first class?
"I don't think we have a squad today which would normally compete with first class standards. I'm talking about the four clubs from England playing in the Champions League.
"I thing they have something more than we have. So we need to take that next step.
"And I will be extremely happy if the owner tells me that we can.
"I think he will because he always says his target in the future is to play in the Champions League.
"That will cost money. Look at the stars they have. (Fernando)Torres, £26million. What the price today for a Wayne Rooney or Cristiano Ronaldo? An Emmanuel Adebayor, Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard, Stevie Gerrard?"