Hughes is expected to make a number of signings in January
Manchester City manager Mark Hughes has warned it could take until the start of the 2010/11 season before the club is ready to challenge for top honours.
Cash-rich City are expected to spend heavily in January's transfer window but Hughes plans to steadily build up a squad capable of winning trophies.
"We have not had the benefit of one transfer window yet," he said.
"We need to go through three or four before we can even suggest that we are going to challenge at the top end."
City smashed the British transfer record by paying Real Madrid £32.5m for Brazilian star Robinho at the end of August and, thanks to billionaire owner Sheikh Mansour's Abu Dhabi United Group, have the funds for more big-name signings when the transfer window opens later this week.
But, whoever arrives at Eastlands in the next few weeks, Hughes has emphasised that challenging the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal for the major honours will not happen overnight.
"There will come a point when everybody says 'this is the moment when we can have a real go'. We are nowhere near yet, everybody has to understand that," he said.
Hughes admitted after Sunday's 2-2 draw at Blackburn that his team lacked a physical presence and he is thought to be keen to rectify that problem, as well as bolstering his strikeforce.
City are reported to have bid for West Ham midfielder Scott Parker and his Hammers team-mate, Welsh forward Craig Bellamy, while Hughes has been linked with a return to his former club Blackburn to sign frontman Roque Santa Cruz.
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