The Sunderland boss did not mention the West Midlands club or their wantaway striker Steven Fletcher by name when he described his current approach to the transfer marker.
But there could be little doubt he was talking about both when he warned that Sunderland would switch their attentions elsewhere rather than pay hugely inflated prices for their main targets.
Wolves chief executive Jez Moxey gave a public rebuke to the Black Cats earlier this week after rejecting Sunderland bids of £10million, £12m and a club record-equalling £13m for a player they value at £15m.
Moxey effectively told Sunderland to stump up the £15m or leave.
But O’Neill has indicated that while he will continue to chase his first-choice target, Sunderland’s interest has its limits.
“There are certain targets I would like to get that I would like to persist with if at all possible,” said O’Neill.
“If that doesn’t materialise, of course I have other people in mind – that I’ve always had in mind.
“But I would like to try and chase down the people who I think would be absolutely ideal for the club.
“Like everything in the transfer market, you think that somebody is worth ‘X’ amount of pounds but if the other football club value them in a different light – which is totally and utterly their prerogative – and you can’t reach an agreement, then there are other alternatives.
“That’s the nature of the game.”
With the Fletcher saga dragging on and so far no nearer resolution, O’Neill moved swiftly this week to get in experienced striker Louis Saha on a Bosman free transfer to boost his options ahead of today’s season opener against Arsenal.
Saha’s arrival has eased some of the pressure and given the manager some breathing space but O’Neill is determined to bring in more new faces before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.
“I think it’s pretty obvious that we still need some goal power.
“We’ve got a couple of weeks left before the transfer deadline and I expect to add to the squad.
“By September 1, we want to have a squad that is capable of competing.
“The end of the transfer window comes around very, very quickly and at that point you know where you stand.
“In an ideal world, of course, it would have been nice to have players in by the beginning of July but it has been a very slow market.
“We are still searching for players and I would hope that, before the end of the transfer window, we will have players who will make the squad competitive – and hopefully more than that.”