Pep Guardiola refused to talk about Manchester City’s prospects of signing Erling Braut Haaland but the feeling is he will end up joining the club.
Borussia Dortmund striker Haaland has a 75m euros (£62.3m) release clause.
City and Real Madrid have been viewed as the likely destinations for the Norwegian.
But with Real trying to secure Kylian Mbappe on a free transfer from Paris St-Germain, City have made Haaland a priority.
Blues officials have refused to comment on the situation and Guardiola followed suit when he was asked about fresh reports of a deal being agreed between City and Haaland.
“I have no answer to your question,” he said on Tuesday. “I have no concern about what will happen in this club next season.
“We are playing with good strikers and for many years I never talk about transfers, especially when we are playing for this season.”
However, Guardiola has spoken repeatedly this season about wanting a number nine after his failure to lure Harry Kane from Tottenham last summer.
And, while the City boss remains a huge admirer of Kane, the fact the 28-year-old still has two years left on his contract with Spurs means, financially, signing Haaland now makes more sense.
The 21-year-old has enhanced his reputation this term with 25 goals in 26 appearances for Dortmund this season, including a double in Saturday’s 6-1 win over Wolfsburg.
He has scored 82 goals in 85 games since joining the Bundesliga side from Red Bull Salzburg in December 2019.
Haaland is keen to test himself at a higher level and Dortmund have always known they were vulnerable to an approach from one of Europe’s biggest clubs.
It is anticipated Haaland’s agent Mino Raiola will pocket a sizeable fee for his part in the transfer if it does go through and there is understandable caution around the direction of talks until they have reached a successful conclusion.
However, within the game, it would now be seen as a surprise if a deal with City was not finally agreed.