Portsmouth have admitted big-name players may have to be sold this summer whether or not the club remains in the Premier League for a seventh successive season.
Pompey's executive chairman Peter Storrie says their uncertain future hinges on the ownership issue - with current supremo Alexandre Gaydamak having made it clear he wants to sell and will no longer invest.
The business tycoon financed a near-£60m transfer spree over two years for former boss Harry Redknapp but this term players like Jermain Defoe, Sulley Muntari, Pedro Mendes and Lassana Diarra had to be sold on to help balance the books in the credit crunch.
And now Storrie fears remaining stars like England's Glen Johnson and Peter Crouch and Croatia's Niko Kranjcar might also have to be put up for sale - unless a new owner comes in.
Portsmouth can cement another year in the top-flight with a positive result at home to Sunderland on Monday and will not even need that if Newcastle lose at home to Fulham or Hull go down at Bolton this afternoon.
But with the club reportedly £65m in debt and due to pay off a large chunk of that to a South African bank at the end of the season, Storrie admits: "I'd like to keep all our good players but a lot depends on the ownership issue.
"We can bring in a new owner but it has to be one who can put finance in because that's what is required for the club to go forward again.
"At this moment in time what happens in the transfer market depends entirely on the ownership of the club.
"Sacha (Gaydamak) has made it perfectly clear that although he's done some fantastic things in the past he cannot now put in any more finance.
"At the moment various discussions are happening on that and I'm hopeful something will happen sooner rather than later.''
Meanwhile, caretaker-manager Paul Hart has a clean bill of health - apart from injured Kranjcar - from which to choose his team to face fellow strugglers Sunderland and will be odds-on to keep the job with a new contract for next season should he keep Pompey in the top-flight.
But he could soon be plunged into major negotiations with no fewer than 15 players out of contract this summer including skipper Sol Campbell, 34, Pompey's top earner.