West Bromwich Albion chairman Jeremy Peace admits they have a "big summer" ahead of them.
With the market to open next week, Peace says finding the right balance in transfer spending will be crucial.
"You look at a package on a player - that will include a transfer fee, a salary and a commitment to that salary on a worst-case basis of us being in the Premier League this year, but getting relegated next year and staying down," Peace told the Birmingham Mail.
"If we draw a line at a level through the first 20 players in terms of the highest transfer fees (that Albion have paid) then most would be a disaster. A few did well, but most didn't. But, below that 20, the record is very good.
"So it's not about spending the money - it's about your research on the player and how you de-risk it.
"We've done plenty of £2 million, £3 million deals and they've not been good enough.
"Since 2002 we've had circa 140 players, we've spent £100 million, brought £65 million back in on about a dozen. That's a £35 million loss.
"Our squad is probably worth about £35 million so it levels out, but what a stupid game to be in and have that type of transfer policy. It can break football clubs.
"If we can get away with not paying a fee then I'm up for that. The way we operate the club, what Richard Garlick does in terms of trying to damage-limit over a few hours (with a transfer deal), is better than what the commercial people can make in six months.
"It's about cost control. Richard is there at the front end, dealing with the agents, dealing with the player, dealing with the club, but people behind him maybe saying no - but that's the only way a club like ours can operate.
"We have a big summer ahead. And it's a big year ahead of us."