AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani insists the club will have to offload at least five players before they even consider a move for Italian forward Mario Balotelli.
The Manchester City striker has been strongly linked with a move back to Italy as he has failed to show his best form this season and has only scored one Premier League goal.
Balotelli continues to have an up and down relationship with manager Roberto Mancini and seems unlikely to cement a regular first-team place in the city team.
AC Milan are looking to bolster their forward line as uncertainty surrounds the long-term futures of Robinho and Alexandre Pato.
With Balotelli's former club Inter Milan unlikely to make an offer, reports in Italy have suggested that AC Milan are ready to make their move, but Galliani says that is unlikely to happen unless they can reduce their playing squad.
Galliani said: "Balotelli? It's a sentimental matter, but enough of this. We'd have to get down to 26-27 players for him to arrive because there really are too many of us. If five don't go, there will be no new signings.
"There are 32 players in the squad and if nobody leaves then nobody will come in. We'll have to sell first and then buy, otherwise we'll stay as we are."