West Ham's inability to sign either William Carvalho or Andre Gomes before the transfer window closed has left manager Slaven Bilic frustrated with what he deems to be a squad lacking depth.
The two Portugal international midfielders looked set to seal late switches to the Premier League, with Bilic revealing that much of West Ham's previous business was done with Carvalho and Gomes in mind.
But neither joined West Ham in the end, with their pursuit of Carvalho ultimately straining the club's relationship with Sporting CP, while Gomes has been left to fight for his place at Barcelona.
And Bilic believes that West Ham's failure to get either has left him very short of options in midfield.
"I think with Carvalho it was a money issue," Bilic told Sky Sports. "I really wanted the player and it really looked like it was going to happen.
"I thought until the last minute that he was going to come. Why am I disappointed? I'm disappointed because we've been looking at that position for two years.
"For that crucial position, for us he was ideal and it didn't happen. One of the reasons we were offloading so many players was to raise the funds to get the budget for him and then when it didn't happen you are frustrated.
"For me, if we tried everything that's all we could have done. I wanted Carvalho. We all did. We are a bit thin and I took that risk deliberately.
"It wasn't only Carvalho, it was also Andre Gomes, who also looked done. It's a question of injuries now. If we stay away from injuries we have enough players - and now, to be fair, we don't have many injuries so we are okay in every department."
West Ham's struggles in the transfer market have only increased the scrutiny on the club and Bilic is said to be under pressure internally after three successive defeats to start the season.
However, he is adamant that his relationship with chairman David Sullivan is as good as it always has been.
"The fact is I have my relationships with the chairman for two-and-a-half years almost now and it's been good since the first day of that season," the Croatian added.
"We don't talk a lot, but we are in contact and communicate through emails. Usually we talk after every game.
"He [Sullivan] is very polite because he leaves you the day after the game and then you talk a couple of days after. Maybe that's because he wants to gather more information?
"It's fine. It was always polite, always decent. When I don't like something I tell him straight and it's been fine so far, to be fair."