Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has questioned Tottenham's ambition, suggesting they have lower expectations than their Premier League title rivals.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy this week defended a lack of signings and railed against "unsustainable" spending.
"If [Spurs] don't win the title, it's not a tragedy," said Conte.
"If they don't arrive in the Champions League, it's not a tragedy. If they go out in the first round of the Champions League, it's not a tragedy. If they go out after the first game that they play in the Europa League, it's not a tragedy.
"Maybe for Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United and - I don't know - Liverpool, it is a tragedy. You must understand the status of the team.
"Every team has to understand what their ambitions are. If their ambitions are to fight for the title or win the Champions League, you must buy expensive players. Otherwise you continue to stay in your level. It's simple."
"My question is this: What are Tottenham's expectations?"
Spurs waiting to make their move?
After finishing second in the Premier League last season, Spurs have not added to their squad over the summer.
Their only transfer activity has been selling England right-back Kyle Walker to rivals Manchester City for £45m.
"We have a duty to manage the club appropriately," Levy said.
Recent history suggests it may be a while before Levy makes his move, with the majority of Spurs' incoming deals finalised in August in the past few seasons.
Last August, they paid Newcastle £30m for midfielder Moussa Sissoko in the final few hours of the window, having signed £9m winger Georges-Kevin Nkoudou and loan goalkeeper Pau Lopez earlier in the day.
In previous seasons, forward Son Heung-min (£22m), midfielder Erik Lamela (£25.7m), goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (£11.8m) and forward Clint Dempsey (£6m) all joined the club in the closing days and hours of transfer windows.
'Chelsea tried to buy Walker'
More than £850m has been spent by Premier League sides so far in the summer transfer window, which closes on 31 August, with accountancy firm Deloitte predicting top-flight clubs will surpass the record £1.165bn they spent last summer.
Conte revealed Chelsea "tried to buy" Walker and acknowledged that the market is currently "very difficult", adding: "I think now every single player is expensive."
'Kane is one of the best in the world'
Conte also said Spurs and England striker Harry Kane would be his first pick if he could sign any forward. Kane has finished as the Premier League's top goalscorer for the past two seasons.
"Tottenham is a really good squad if they are able to keep all the players," Conte said. "For me, Kane, now, is one of the best strikers in the world.
"If I had to buy one striker I would go to Kane. He is a complete striker. He is strong physically, with the ball, without the ball, he fights and he's strong in the air and acrobatic on the right and the left.
"If you go to buy Kane now it would be at least £100m."