Nedum Onuoha says winning the UEFA Cup - not Manchester City's spending power - will bring the big names to Eastlands.
Defender Onuoha told City's website: "That would definitely mean more than the money. There is so much potential here now and the chance to be able to afford better players. But they will come because they see the club is moving in the right direction.
"They'll see the ambition and take a pride in coming here. It's amazing to think that not so long ago we were escaping relegation but three or four years from now could be one of the top teams in the country if not Europe.
"But it wouldn't be about the money, it would be about the team developing. Players take a pride in the team they play for, otherwise you wouldn't go. Big clubs will pay big money, because they will be winning things."