Inter do not have any significant funds available for transfers in the winter window, according to Antonio Conte, who has attempted to play down links with a number of top players.
Conte has guided Inter to second place in the Italian top flight after 19 fixtures, with only two points separating his team and defending champions Juventus.
The Nerazzurri still have the Coppa Italia and Europa League to play for too, with the fixture list set to pile up from February onwards.
Conte has been tipped to add to his ranks in order to maintain a trophy challenge on multiple fronts, with Tottenham's Christian Eriksen thought to be Inter's primary target in the January market.
The two clubs are reportedly already in talks over a deal, but Spurs value the Danish midfielder at £17 million ($22m), which is a significantly higher fee than Inter are hoping to part with.
Manchester United full-back Ashley Young has also been touted for a switch to San Siro, but Conte insists Inter are short on money to spend on new players this month.
"There is not much money, the director has been clear," the former Chelsea manager told reporters. "We must be good at finding situations that can bring us benefits.
"We must find cheap opportunities, otherwise I see it being hard. The ideas are there, if there is the possibility, we will improve.
"What you can't get with money you have to get with intelligence and wit."
Conte was speaking after his side's 4-1 Coppa Italia round-of-16 victory over Cagliari on Tuesday, which represented another significant step forward for an improving Nerazzurri outfit.
The Italian tactician has been delighted with Inter's progress during his first six months at the helm, having seen his unique philosophy "embraced" by a squad eager to do a "great job" on the pitch.
"We have made an important first step. We have faced serious problems and despite this, we have gained 46 points," Conte said. "The second half of the season will be difficult, we know it, there will still be a lot of room to fight and to grow.
"The most important thing about this course was the feeling that was created between me and the boys and the fact that they fully embraced my project."
Inter will be back in Serie A action on Sunday when they take in a trip to Lecce.