Rangers executive chairman Sir David Murray says that the Light Blues could not afford to sign new Celtic midfielder Scott Brown from Hibernian.
Murray has tightened Rangers' wage structure in recent seasons
He claims Brown could not have been accommodated in a new system which rewards key Ibrox players.
He said: "If he's on the wages that have been reported how would that leave us with our other players?
"Would Rangers' young Scots be happy to sign new deals on less than half what another young Scot was being paid?"
Scotland cap Brown ended up at Celtic Park in a £4.4m transfer despite ongoing speculation that Ibrox was his preferred destination.
Meanwhile, Murray also expressed an interest in reviving the club's wish to bring Kilmarnock's Steven Naismith to Ibrox.
He remains hopeful of securing the Scotland striker, despite a summer-long signing saga, even though Rangers boss Walter Smith has withdrawn the club's latest bid.
Kilmarnock chairman Michael Johnston has reported plenty of interest from other teams.
And the Ibrox chief explained: "We've the greatest respect for Kilmarnock but if they have other clubs who want to buy the player, why don't they accept one of those bids they've received?
"Walter has already spoken about the offer we made.
"He's a good young player and we'd like to have him here but he's 20 years old and at that age you're buying potential."
Murray is also backing Smith to bring Rangers closer to champions Celtic in the Scottish Premier League.
"What we can't have is the gap there was last season.
"Obviously we'd prefer to win it, but I think every Rangers supporter wants to see us compete."