Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola has suggested he will at least see out the duration of his contract at the club, which expires in 2021.
Guardiola's future has been the subject of much speculation in recent weeks, but it seems he won't be departing before his deal comes to an end:
"I've said many times how incredibly good I am here, and of course I would like to stay as much as possible, so that is my desire," he said.
The Spaniard, who arrived at the Etihad Stadium in 2016, dropped a further hint he intends to see out his deal by adding that "it will be five years in one club."
However, he said he will only stay beyond 2021 if the decision is "perfect" for both himself and the club and that he is in "no rush" to sign a new deal as his contract is "not finishing in three months, four months."
At the end of this season, he will have been at City for four years, the same length of time he was in charge of Barcelona. He was at Bayern Munich for three years.
Earlier in December, Guardiola denied the existence of a break clause in his City contract:
The Sky Blues failed to win any silverware in his first season in charge—his only campaign without a trophy as a manager—and finished third, albeit with 12 more points than they had the season before.
In the past two seasons, City won back-to-back Premier League titles and Carabao Cups, as well as the FA Cup. Guardiola's side have struggled to match that incredible standard in this campaign.
They find themselves third after 17 matches, 14 points behind leaders Liverpool and the same number short of the tally they had accrued at this stage in the 2017-18 season. Last season, they were nine points better off after 17 games.
When City lost 2-1 to Manchester United on December 7, football writer Simon Curtis observed their difficulties in maintaining such lofty standards:
A third consecutive Premier League title looks unlikely this season barring a significant Liverpool collapse, but City are still capable of winning the Carabao Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League with some improved form in the latter half of the season.
As for next season, it may be easier for Guardiola to drive them back to the standard they set under him, particularly with another summer of spending to enhance their squad once again.