Everton boss David Moyes is starting to feel the pressure as he continues to hit a brick wall in the transfer market after it emerged Juventus midfielder Tiago had snubbed a move to Goodison Park.
The Toffees have not signed a single player this summer yet have lost Lee Carsley, Thomas Gravesen, Manuel Fernandes and Andy Johnson. That meant the whole of their bench was made up of kids for the Premier League opener against Blackburn Rovers while Jack Rodwell started the match.
Jose Baxter, 16, became the club's youngest ever player last weekend, and he could be pressed into starting the game at West Brom on Saturday.
Moyes is now concerned that his struggles will make it impossible to match last season's fifth place finish. The trail on Sporting Lisbon midfielder Joao Moutinho has gone cold after an £11.8m bid was turned down and now Tiago looks a dead end.
Juve sporting director Alessio Secco confirmed: 'We had reached an agreement with Everton for the loan of Tiago. All that was needed was the player's agreement, and that never came. We take it, therefore, that Tiago will stay with us.'
Injuries have made Moyes squad threadbare. There remains interest in Rennes midfielder Stephane M'Bia and the Cameroon international, who has just returned from Olympic duty, is quoted as being very interested in the move.
With a busy UEFA Cup campaign to add to the Premier League programme Moyes now has just 10 days to address his squad.
Moyes said: 'What we are facing is a numbers shortage. There is no way we will be able to survive at our current level if it continues like this.
'It will be impossible to have any improvement this season if we do not improve the numbers greatly.
'We cannot sustain what we did last season, finishing fifth and having a good European run. We could not really sustain it when we were short of players from January onwards last season.
'Now we are more players short than then, so if we are in a worse position there is no way we can achieve again what we did last season. We are trying to make it better and working hard on the current situation.'
He added: 'This is probably the toughest period I have had as Everton manager, mainly because a lot of my concentration at the moment is not with the players I have here - and they are the most important - but with trying to bring new players in.
'There is no doubt that a lot of our energy is being spent on players we want to sign, and that is not helpful for the team.
'We have come close to making signings. But I believe it shows how much you need big money in this division to attract players.
'You need to do it at the right time and the shutters in the shop are halfway down at the moment with just a week to go.
'The business has changed. There are a lot of people these days with their finger in the pie, it makes things difficult but that is there way things are going these days.
'I am still looking for seven or eight new players at the moment!'
Everton need to find their form quickly if they are not to find themselves stuck at the wrong end of the table.
Moyes said: 'We want to play much better than last week, that was just not good enough. Blackburn were better than us, I cannot argue about that. I am now looking for a better performance.
'Cahill is at least a month away. He has been missed, an important member of the team.
'But we did not have him for long spells last season and still finished fifth, so this is not a one man band here. But we need him desperately because of the lack of numbers in the squad as much as anything else.
'It is difficult to manage with such small numbers, but we had that problem last season towards the end.
'The positive side is that we have brought in a lot of young players and they have been terrific. They have grabbed the opportunity and I am very pleased with them.
'In terms of adding to the squad, there is nothing even close. We have no-one coming in who can help us at West Brom so we have to concentrate on what we have.'
Moyes added: 'We have given some kids their chance, they are learning and I am learning about them all the time. But you get given a group of players and your job as a coach is to make them win, I couldn't make that happen last week but we will continue working.
'I was not that surprised by what happened last week. If people thought it was going to be all singing and dancing with the size of squad we have, then they are mistaken.'