Rafael Benitez, the Liverpool manager, has hinted that they are unlikely to move for Raul and Luis Figo because of the strain signing the two Real Madrid players would place on their wages budget.
Liverpool have been seen as candidates to sign the pair, but Benitez has played down the prospect. The Qatar club Al-Rayyan had claimed they are bidding against Liverpool for Figo, who could become available fairly cheaply this summer, albeit on huge wages.
Benitez said: "There are many people at Real Madrid that we are aware of, but we really know our limitations."
Raul was suggested as a Liverpool target last week, but he is considered by the Real president, Florentino Perez, as the embodiment of the Spanish club and seems destined to spend his career in Madrid. "There are players that cannot leave and there are others we do not want," Benitez added.
The Bolton manager, Sam Allardyce, has also been linked with a move for Figo but has similar concerns to Benitez.
"It is flattering to be linked with one of the world's greatest players," Allardyce said. "But in all honesty it would be very difficult to afford a player of Figo's calibre."
Like Bolton, Liverpool will only recruit players who would fit into their wage structure, which would suggest that Benitez will be canny rather than eye-catching in his purchases.
The Champions' League winners have received a £20.5m windfall from Uefa, the European game's governing body, which is the accumulation of television fees and performance bonuses accrued since last season's qualifying round. Benitez is set to benefit from a share of that, meaning his transfer budget for the summer, which was expected to be significant in any case, could outstrip what he had to spend 12 months ago after joining from Valencia.
Villarreal's Jose Reina is high on Liverpool's wanted list, although his agent claims another English club have also made an approach, while the Deportivo La Coruña striker Albert Luque has been linked with a move to the European champions.