Javier Zanetti insists Inter cannot afford to sell key players like Samir Handanovic and Fredy Guarin if they want to return to the European elite this season.
The goalkeeper has recently been linked with a move to Barcelona, while the Colombia international has been the subject of a £15.3 million bid from Tottenham.
However, even though Zanetti understands that the side's financial situation plays a big role in their dealings this summer, the club captain feels their sporting ambitions should prevail.
"Selling Guarin and Handanovic? I would not sell anyone if I were in charge. If we want to return to the top, we cannot allow our best players to leave the club," Zanetti told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"Obviously, nobody here wants to weaken Inter, but in difficult economic times like this you might have to consider certain things, though."
The Argentine believes Inter's new head coach Walter Mazzarri is the perfect man to take the Serie A club forward following his arrival from Napoli.
"I believe the claims saying that Mazzarri could be our marquee signing are right. We are talking about a coach who has always shown character and determination throughout his career," Zanetti continued.
"What I like about him the most is that he really wanted to coach Inter and this group of players. He's motivated all of us."
Mazzarri left Napoli at the end of the season to replace Andrea Stramaccioni as the man in charge at the Giuseppe Meazza.