Manchester City have refused to comment on reports linking them with wantaway Barcelona star Lionel Messi.
Messi sent shockwaves through world football when he informed Barca via burofax on Wednesday (AEST) that he wanted to leave, putting several clubs on high alert.
A reunion with Pep Guardiola at City has been mooted, but the club declined to comment when contacted by Stats Perform News. It is believed they do not want to take a public position on such a high-profile story.
Guardiola has previously stated his belief that Messi would, and indeed should, see out his career at Camp Nou, where he is the all-time leading goalscorer.
"He is a player from Barcelona and he will stay there, that's my wish for him to stay there," he said in February.
"I'm not going to talk about players playing for other clubs. I think he will finish his career there, that's my wish."
However, the notion that Guardiola would turn down the chance to sign arguably the world's greatest player following a season in which his side lost out to Liverpool in the Premier League, and again failed in the Champions League, seems absurd.
With his reputation at Barca still firmly intact following a fine playing career and a spell at the helm during which the club were twice crowned champions of Europe, Guardiola will not want to be seen to be actively pursuing Messi.
That would explain any outward reticence, but it is unlikely the Etihad Stadium club would not be considering an approach.
Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak has only recently outlined a new transfer policy expanding the club's search beyond the usual age range of 20 to 25-year-olds, putting a 33-year-old Messi firmly on the agenda.
City are not the only club to have been linked to Messi, with Champions League runners-up and fellow financial heavyweights Paris Saint-Germain said to be in the mix, along with Inter.
Staying at Barca remains an option, but Messi is clearly unhappy and there has been no indication that Josep Maria Bartomeu is willing to step aside, with the president having overseen a staffing overhaul that brought Ronald Koeman to the helm this month.
Quite what the Dutchman will be making of this transfer saga in the early days of his reign is anyone's guess.
With or without Messi, Koeman has a rebuilding job on his hands, the scale of which was underlined by Barca's humiliating 8-2 Champions League loss to Bayern Munich, a result that probably hastened the talisman's decision to send that now famous fax.