Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has suggested the club will have little or no money to spend in January.
On Tuesday, sources told ESPN FC that Pochettino was Manchester United's preferred choice as new permanent manager following the sacking of Jose Mourinho.
Pochettino, who has Spurs third in the Premier League and in the knockout stages of the Champions League, said in October that he wanted to add to his squad after the club failed to bring in a player during the summer.
But asked whether he planned to spend in January, he pulled out the lining of his pocket to show it was empty. "He asks me if I'm going to spend money," he said. "I don't have money!"
When the reporter said: "As a club?" Pochettino again showed his empty pocket and said, laughing: "As a club."
While Spurs chairman Daniel Levy told the club's supporters' trust in October that delays to Spurs' new stadium would not directly impact transfer policy, he also confirmed that costs had been rising.
"One thing you need to understand is that Tottenham have built the new training ground and one of the best stadiums in the world with our own resources," Pochettino said.
"It's not like people came from I don't know where and said: 'What is the cost of the new stadium and new facilities? Here's £100 million, £200m, £500m -- and then what does the manager want? Five players? OK, we're going to invest £200m or £300m more.'
"The difference to another project is we're doing all these fantastic things with our own resources. That's why it's massive credit for Daniel because, what he's doing and being competitive like we are, it's tough."
The financial picture is one reason for Pochettino prioritising the top four and Champions League success over domestic silverware as Spurs await their first trophy since 2008.
"I think for the perception, the confidence and self-belief, it would be fantastic to win a trophy like the Carabao Cup," he said ahead of Wednesday's quarterfinal against North London rivals Arsenal.
"But how it will affect the financial side, attract big players or change the dynamic of the club and the business, it's only going to be a trophy.
"For us at the moment, it was and is so important to set the club in a very good position in the Premier League, with access to play in the Champions League. That is massive for the club.
"When we move to the new stadium, we need to create another strategy if we want not only to play in one of the best stadiums in the world but to try to win and compete with the same tools as other clubs."