Football: Bayern Munich silent on Pep talk

BERLIN (REUTERS) - German Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich have declined to comment on speculation about a possible deal with former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola.

"Unfortunately we will not be commenting on these rumours," a club official told Reuters when asked about reports that the successful Spanish football coach, who is on a year's sabbatical, was close to a deal with the Bavarians.

Current coach Jupp Heynckes, who took over in 2011 and steered Bayern to the Champions League final last season, has yet to win any titles but, judging by his team's superb performance this season, that could soon change.

Bayern are top of the Bundesliga with a nine-point lead after 17 matches with the best offence and defence in the league, having scored 44 goals while conceding seven.

Bayern face champions Borussia Dortmund in the German Cup quarter-finals and have also advanced in the Champions League to set up a round-of-16 clash with Arsenal next month.

The 67-year-old Heynckes, in his third spell at Bayern, has a contract until June and club boss Uli Hoeness had said he would hold talks with him early in the year to decide whether he would stay for another year or not.

Heynckes had guided Real Madrid to Champions League victory in 1998 and Bayern's ultimate goal is to win the Champions League after losing twice in the final in the past three seasons.

But with Guardiola's stellar record at Barcelona, club bosses could be forgiven for looking towards the 41-year-old Spaniard.

The Spaniard, who stepped down at the end of last term after four triumphant years in which Barca won 14 of the 19 trophies they contested including two Champions League crowns and three La Liga titles, has confirmed he will return to coaching next season.

Bayern are not the only club in Europe capable of paying his wages and Guardiola has been linked with a number of high-profile management positions, including those at Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea should they become vacant.