Pep Guardiola pleaded unconvincing ignorance over whether he will go back in for Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez during the January transfer window as one of Manchester City's recent big-money recruit prepares for a reunion with his old employers.
Kyle Walker comes face-to-face with Tottenham on Saturday for the first time in a competitive game since swapping north London for east Manchester.
The England full-back's arrival was one of five major signings secured early in the close season by City – a coordinated and efficient approach that paved the way for their on-going unbeaten start to the Premier League season and 11-point lead at the summit.
As August moved towards September, a protracted and ultimately fruitless pursuit of Sanchez took centre stage.
Arsenal managed to stand firm but the 28-year-old Chile star remains out of contract at the end of this season, meaning speculation linking him with long-established admirer Guardiola is unlikely to go away.
Reinforcement at centre-back, with Southampton's Virgil van Dijk and Real Sociedad's Inigo Martinez reported to be the names in the frame, is understood to be City's priority next month but, when asked whether there would be another move for Sanchez, Guardiola replied: "Good question."
Some giggles followed before he added: "[Ask me about matters] on the pitch, you know ....transfer window is for winter time.
"I don't know, believe me, I don't know what we are going to do because it's not…"
Guardiola tailed off and departed his news conference with a grin. He had earlier been more forthcoming in his praise of Walker, a player he considers to be among the best right-backs in world football.
"Right now I'd rate him as one of the best, definitely," said the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach. "His energy, he is so strong defensively.
"I'd like to help him solve not just [defensive] problems through his physicality but also through his thinking.
"When you are so strong physically, you solve all the problems that way but when you get to a certain age – 29, 30 – after that you need to think more about what will happen.
"Always I encourage him to think first. Of course, against United [City's 2-1 Manchester derby win last weekend] against Rashford and Martial, who are so fast and so good one-against-one running 40 metres, he was able to control them.
"Few players in the world can control players like Martial and Rashford like he did. That's why he's so, so important to us."
Walker once seemed similarly valuable at Tottenham, where City youth product Kieran Trippier's progression last term made it easier for Mauricio Pochettino to sanction a £50million deal.
Pochettino is looking forward to the reunion and does not fear the financial power of City and others picking further holes in a highly respected squad.
"It's always good to see the players that were with you and players that did a lot for the club, or did a lot for myself, to try to help achieve all that we wanted," he said.
"It's human nature that the players always want to improve and have different challenges and ideas but I'm not worried.
"We know how our project is, who we are and we try to develop our project. We need to win today, tomorrow and in one year, two, three and four years. That is the plan for Tottenham.
"It may be completely different than other teams, where the most important thing is to win today. That is a good point for the debate when people assess us and compare with another team."
|Osaka looking to learn from losing start in Singapore|
|Kovac expects tough test against AEK Athens|
|Whyte gives Chisora deadline over rematch|
|Spartak Moscow sack Massimo Carrera|
|Atletico Madrid confirm fresh injury issue for Gimenez|
|Dolberg extends Ajax contract after Real Madrid links|
|Ronaldo an example for Lukaku to follow|
|Bertens battles back to blast past Kerber|
|Ramos apologises for training ground fracas|
|Raikkonen should take heed of Alonso misfortune as F1 career winds down|
|Guardiola wants Manchester City fans to push team to Champions League glory|
|Isco not interested in departed Ronaldo - he didn´t want to be here|
|World Series 2018: Three storylines to watch in Red Sox-Dodgers|
|Neymar focus bad for football - PSG´s Maxwell|
|Marco Ianni charged by FA over Jose Mourinho touchline row|
|Stephens sees off Osaka in see-saw Singapore battle|
|I´m happy at Manchester United - Mourinho dismisses Real Madrid reports|
|Semenya and Asher-Smith head IAAF Female World Athlete of the Year shortlist|
|Mandzukic to miss Manchester United trip|
|I turned down Manchester United to return to Juventus - Bonucci|
|Sanchez out of Manchester United´s clash with Juventus|
|Australia make Short work of run chase in T20 win|
|Brotherly g-love! Tommy Fury follows Tyson into the pros|
|Ozil´s international retirement can help Arsenal - Emery|
|If you sack Lopetegui, you have to sack us all – Isco|
|Lopetegui defiant amid Real Madrid sack reports|
|Sri Lanka spinner Herath to retire after Galle Test|
|Ronaldo returns for Old Trafford welcome amid disquieting noise|
|Garcia claims third Andalucia Valderrama Masters title|
|Ex-England international Waldrom retires|
|´Massive personality´ Hart can lift Burnley, says Kompany|
|Liverpool felt wrath of ´emotional´ Klopp, says Shaqiri|
|Reid: Jenkins capitalised on Kaepernick movement|
|Manchester United v Juventus: Ronaldo out to end dismal scoring record against Mourinho|
|Injured Ribery to miss Bayern´s clash with AEK|
|Wilshere would have stayed at Arsenal under Wenger|
|Mahomes stars again as Chiefs crush Bengals|
|Bolt must accept ´much less´ to join Mariners, says A-League chief|
|Klopp compares Liverpool to dog without favourite toy|
|Young leads Hawks to first win, Thunder fall in Westbrook´s return|
|Spalletti hits out at physical Milan – I had three players asking to be replaced|
|Cowboys, Ravens lose after missed kicks in final seconds|
|Hernangomez secures Nuggets´ win over Warriors with last-second block|
|Hasler returns to Manly on three-year deal|
|Sarri: Chelsea fans must respect Mourinho|
|Ronaldo learnt from Scholes – Pjanic praises Juventus star|
|CA dismisses spot-fixing claims|
|WATCH: Will Ferrell leads chants with LAFC fans|
|MLS Review: Galaxy on track for play-offs as Timbers, DC clinch spots|
|Elliott secures win at Hollywood Casino 400|
|Thunder´s Westbrook makes season debut against Kings|
|Saints beat Ravens after Tucker misses extra point|
|Rondo, Paul and Ingram banned after Lakers-Rockets fight|
|Saints QB Brees reaches another historic milestone|
|Biglia: VAR should have checked Nainggolan tackle|
|Gattuso not blaming Donnarumma for derby defeat|
|Seventh in Mexico will secure Hamilton´s fifth world title|
|Rooney fires DC United into MLS play-offs|
|Alonso slams ´amateur´ F1 rivals after latest crash|
|Spalletti fears lengthy Nainggolan absence|
|To the Max! Verstappen destroyed shoe fending off Hamilton|
|Icardi delight after Donnarumma error gives him another derby winner for Inter|
|Guardiola: Versatility the key for Stones|
|Vettel frustrated as mistakes continue to hamper title challenge|
|ECB refutes spot-fixing claims against England players|
|I thought we would do better - Hamilton queries Mercedes strategy|
|Inter 1 AC Milan 0: Icardi settles derby with dramatic late winner|
|Hamilton denied title party as Raikkonen wins in Austin|
|Patriots RB Michel out against Bears with gruesome knee injury|
|Kohli hails Rohit partnership after comprehensive India victory|