As Burnley struggle to add to their squad ahead of the transfer deadline, Sean Dyche believes the market could eventually outrun the club completely.
The Clarets have yet to bring a solitary player to Turf Moor this summer, with just over a week before the window closes.
And despite the prize money available in the Premier League, Dyche feels wages and fees are running away from Burnley - a rare case in that they are not a club with the wealthy benefactor model, willing to write off vast sums of money if signings don’t work out.
Burnley have shown you can have success with a prudent business model, but Dyche feels that his job will only get more and more difficult trying to stay within certain parameters, while other owners stretch the boundaries.
Dyche said: “Some clubs don’t need to have a business model because some owners are so wealthy.
“We have a business model, but it makes it very tough.
“The chairman wants to back the club, but can only back it to a certain level, unless it rips up the whole structure of the club.
“Already big clubs are suddenly finding it tough. Then they re-finance, re-finance again and someone takes over and someone takes over again.
“This club doesn’t want to do that.
“It’s a double-edged sword.
“I understand it, I think it is important to have a well-run club in these parts, because they nearly lost it a couple of times. But my football head says ‘give me the money and I’ll go and spend it’.
“I’m not judging others, but we have to run it in our way and it makes it very difficult.”
And he feels it is getting harder to compete.
Wolves and Fulham have come up and splashed the cash, and Cardiff have been active as well.
The you look at all the Championship clubs with big backing.
Dyche said: “The system runs away faster than this club can keep up with.
“The numbers run away that fast, no matter how much we bring in.
“If you plan on spending £1,000, but others say ‘that isn’t enough, you need to spend £5,000’.
“You don’t want to do that, and the rest of the football business doesn’t care about that, it goes again.
“The challenge is opening the club’s mind enough to go some way to keep up, because the whole of the football business is saying ‘all the best with that, we’re going up here’.
“Stretch and not break. It’s not easy.
“Get the right players in, young enough and still good enough, do well in the league, get them on the contracts you want.”
So can Burnley compete in the long term at this level? “It’s tough. Probably, no. The market will probably outrun you at some point.
“Possibly, yes, football is weird like that. You can throw everything at the pitch and it doesn’t work.
“There are new investors coming into clubs across the land, there are plenty of stories not so good.
“This club doesn’t want to be one of the not so good stories. The challenge is how far you stretch it to allow us to continue moving forward, and keep progressing and challenging at the top level. That’s the tough side of it, finding that balance.”
In the worst-case scenario, and the club fails to sign anyone, would the squad be standing still, having missed an opportunity to build on an historic season? “It’s not about that. You only miss an opportunity if you’ve got a lot of money and you throw it around.
“The opportunity has to be right for the club and if it’s not right, that’s the way it goes.
“There’s no point overthinking it, I could tell you I’ve got £100m to spend, but I haven’t, and I haven’t at any year.
“We continue to work with the players we’ve got who finished seventh in the Premier League.
“We want to support those players and get more of a competitive edge.
“It’s tough to align the ones who fit the model, the culture, the club, the market and the wages and can still develop.
“At the end of all that, the so-called bargains are not bargains any more. You see a player go for £7m and think: Eh?”
Add in European football, and would Burnley be at risk of losing their Premier League status should they advance on the continent and stretch the squad further? “That’s a story that’s been going a few years, that’s a story beyond us.
“That’s a double-edged sword of being us. Would you take it? If you’re a Burnley person and you’ve seen the progression over the last six years and you’ve got a chance of mini-period in Europe would you take it?
“I think you would.”
When you look at the inflation of transfer fees, Burnley could well have to break their £15m transfer record to sign a player who wouldn’t necessarily be first choice.
But that doesn’t concern Dyche: “It’s just the market. Steven Defour was one of our top players at that time, he sat on the bench for half a season.
“I don’t do ‘I bought him so I have to play him’, I do is he ready to play?
“It’s not the player’s fault. If he comes with a number, it’s not his fault. He just wants to play football.
“The days of players carrying big figure on their head are gone, because there’s a big figure on everyone’s heads, unless you’re getting to the £100m mark, there’s a bit of weight on that. Lads who are £20m are standard, that’s the way it goes.
“The facts are do you want that player?
“There are players I’ve rung up about you would be in disbelief if I told you the numbers. You would be flummoxed.
“When you hear their wages you wouldn’t believe it.”
And money is the big driving factor in modern life, never mind football: “Agents get a bit of stick, but I had one agent agree to take less in his fee to get a player here. That stood him in good stead with me as a person.
“I’ve a couple of players who have stayed here when people have tried to get them out.
“I’ve had agents who want players to come here because it’s right for them.
“But, eventually, money wins the day.”
In the remaining days of the window, Burnley will continue to go down their list of targets: “Lots of players come and go. It’s strange thing being a manager because you sit there with a list and convince yourself that will happen and that will happen and that will happen.
“And then it’s ‘That one’s gone, gone, gone. That one’s definitely gone.’ And so you get to now and you’re thinking, ‘Hmm, it’s not looking quite as good as we thought it might’.
“But it’s not a new thing for us. It’s the reality of the club. Unless someone buys the club for millions, it will be run in a manner that protects it because it’s been so close to really drastic trouble.
“It was like that when I came here. Charlie Austin, for example, had to go but make sure the club could move forward financially.”