Cape Town - Manchester City have moved to clarify recent comments made by Pep Guardiola, insisting the manager did not intend to name Mikel Arteta as his successor.
The Catalan last week raised eyebrows after he seemed to confirm his trusted number two will be the person the Citizens turn to when Guardiola eventually does call time on his stay with the champions.
However, sources have stated Guardiola thought he was being asked whether the 37-year-old Spaniard would succeed as a manager, rather than actually take over from him at City.
Guardiola had initially responded to a question when asked about Arteta, saying: "He's an incredible human being, with incredible values about what it means in the locker room and to be together. He is already an incredible manager and he'll have incredible success in his future.
"I'm pretty sure (he will succeed), yes. But he decided to stay - thanks - but everyone decides what they will do in the future. Sooner or later it's going to happen (become a manager)."
Nobody picked up on the Spanish tactician's pertinent reference that the former Arsenal, Everton and Glasgow Rangers man had decided to stay this summer - having rejected an approach to become boss at Newcastle United.
City have always made it clear they will not stand in Arteta's way should an attractive enough offer come in that matches his managerial aspirations, which is why he gave the interest from the struggling Magpies short shrift.
He was certainly disappointed last year to lose out to Unai Emery for the Arsenal job, having held concrete talks and being the frontrunner for so long after Arsene Wenger's departure.
It is understood that while Arteta's contributions are valued at City, the club's regime would hardly be giving him permission to speak to other clubs if he were already guaranteed to be their next manager.
Guardiola has two years left on his deal in Manchester, with no indications behind the scenes the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach is ready to call it quits before then.
Arteta has earned a decent coaching reputation since hanging up his boots three years ago to accept Guardiola's offer of a role, but he will need to cut his teeth elsewhere - and certainly not starting with the top job at City.