Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes insists he will not be held to ransom when trying to sign players this summer.
The Dons have enjoyed a good season on and off the field at Pittodrie with home crowds up an average of 4,000.
Finishing third in the Premiership also generated more than £1million in income with the League Cup final win against Caley Thistle and the run to the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup also providing a financial windfall.
But McInnes has warned his budget will be unchanged for next season and wants signing targets to be realistic with their expectations when negotiating with the club.
He said: “We can pay a bit more than I paid my St Johnstone players, but not for every player, and while the overall budget is a touch better than most clubs I don’t believe it is the second highest in the league.
“All it takes is one or two injuries or poor signings and everything levels out.
“There isn’t a lot between the clubs and that has been shown all season.
“Our football department is exactly the same as what Motherwell have and our fitness coach only came on board thanks to a sponsor.
“This is a brilliant club to work for, but we have had to box clever, recruit wisely and put in the work.
“We are not awash with money.”
McInnes has turned his attention towards replacing freed trio Scott Vernon, Josh Magennis and Nicky Weaver after re-signing captain Russell Anderson and midfielders Barry Robson and Nicky Low to new one-year contracts last week.
The Dons manager is keen to get his squad assembled as quickly as possible in time for the first Europa League qualifier on July 3.
He said: “We have been planning ahead for some time now but now we know when we are back and when our first game is going to be played it’s important we try to press on and get our work done. We cannot overhaul an entire squad in one window, we try to improve things as we go along.
“We need to keep working towards further improvement and getting players in early and settled quickly can help us achieve that.”