Real Madrid's season so far has served as a harsh reminder of the realities of modern football.
Finally, a club steeped in riches and famed for its Galacticos decided to steer away from that policy in the summer.
As Cristiano Ronaldo made his way to Juventus, Florentino Perez tasked new manager Julen Lopetegui with developing youngsters such as Vinicius Jr and Marco Asensio.
However, the club's failure to replace the five-time Ballon d'Or winner proved disastrous, as their now former head coach can testify.
Santiago Solari has turned things around somewhat, winning all four games since taking the reins at the Bernabeu.
Indeed, although the European champions are sixth in La Liga, there is just a four-point gap between them and pace-setters Barcelona. It really is tight.
January beckons, leading to obvious questions about reinforcements in attack, even if Karim Benzema has found a new lease of life under Solari.
Real's targets are one of football's worst-kept secrets. It's likely, however, that any major signings will have to wait until the summer, with Eden Hazard and Neymar both reportedly interested in moving to the Spanish capital.
Real will look to the Premier League
Securing either of those will be difficult. Neymar, as the world's most expensive player, will command a huge fee and, of course, has history with Barcelona.
Chelsea, meanwhile, are doing their best to tie down Hazard.
Fortunately, the Madrid hierarchy have already come up with a back-up plan, as reported in the Daily Mail.
It's claimed they have identified two further options, the first being Manchester United's Anthony Martial.
The Frenchman has been unsettled under Jose Mourinho and will be free to speak to clubs outside England from January.
The second Premier League player being pursued is Spurs' Christian Eriksen.
The Dane has so far failed to agree a contract extension in north London amid a dispute over his wages and his current deal expires at the end of next season - incidentally, the same time as Hazard.
Eriksen and Martial would arguably be much more straightforward transfers and they would command lower wages.
In defence, David Luiz and Toby Alderweireld are also being considered, as both centre-backs will be free agents in the summer.
Before Real fans get too excited by the plethora of big names being linked, the club are still monitoring a number of youngsters for the winter window, including midfielder Exequiel Palacios of River Plate and Corinthians winger Pedrinho.
Whoever they bring in, it's clear they can't afford to stand still.
Who should Real Madrid sign this summer? Have your say in the comments.