Pep Guardiola has refused to rule out making a fresh bid for Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez in the January transfer window.
Manchester City failed with a last-ditch move for Sanchez during the summer after Arsenal rejected two bids for the Chilean international, who is in the final year of his Gunners contract.
Sanchez is due to face City for the first time since their interest came to naught, when Arsenal tackle the Premier League leaders on Sunday.
Guardiola was inevitably asked about rekindling a deal for the forward in January, but the City boss was notably evasive on his interest in the 28-year-old.
“He’s an Arsenal player. His manager had to speak to him,” Guardiola said.
“You know the situation – before the transfer window was open, and now it is closed.
“He’s an Arsenal player and is so important for them, for his talent that he has, you have to try and control him.”
Like Sanchez, Arsenal team-mate Mesut Ozil is out-of-contract in the summer, with the German international linked with a move to City’s local rivals Manchester United.
Ozil has come in for criticism over his attitude this season, yet after locking horns with the 29-year-old in La Liga, Guardiola has plenty of respect for the former Real Madrid man.
“I enjoy him and I have suffered from him as well when losing to Real Madrid [at Barcelona]” added Guardiola.
“I don’t have any doubts about his quality, it is normal for critics when the team lose so I admire him a lot. Maybe his body language doesn’t help him too much but sometimes the body language can confuse the critics.
“It’s good for the Premier League to have players of this talent.”