Lage, whose men host free-scoring Liverpool today, insisted the challenge for Wolves is to keep hold of star players in order to reach the next level.
However, the Molineux head coach did not provide an update on the future of winger Adama Traore, whose five-year deal comes to an end in 18 months, as rumours about his future continue to swirl.
But he conceded the finances dictate that outgoing business may have to take place for new stars to arrive at Molineux.
“The first step is to own our best players, not just in January but also in the summer to stay here,” Lage said on potential business.
“That’s the big challenge for us, because if we want to do the next step, to move on (up), to arrive in different positions, we cannot sell our best players.
“Because they need to stay here with us, I think that’s also the way to convince the best players to stay with us, to create a project and bring two or three more players help us to do the next step.
“But you never know in football. If you needed to do at least one deal to buy the three or four players we need, then we need to it, that’s the financial part, but if you look at what we want to do, it’s to keep the best players with us, that’s for sure.”
Lage referenced being in charge of Benfica in his homeland when he moved Portugal starlet Joao Felix to Atletico Madrid for £120million in 2019.
He explained that the strategy may not be isolated to January, but in transfer windows moving forward, but reinforced the messaged that Wolves must find a way to keep hold of their star players in a bid to convince of their ambition to progress.
“I’m not just talking about January, but in the next windows,” he added.
“Ninety per cent of my work and time is to think about what happened today, but 10 per cent is to try to (look) at January and the next few windows.
“When I was in Benfica we sold Joao Felix for £120million and we cannot lose that chance, he played one season, 19-years-old and we sold him.
“In the same way, if we want to do the next step, we need to keep our best players with us and also the best way for the players to stay here and believe in our project is to believe in more talented players, so they can see we are not just a first eleven but have a team to arrive in a different position in the table and fight for different goals.”
Wolves attacker Daniel Podence, meanwhile, is expected to return from Covid isolation to feature against Liverpool today, barring any late issues.