"This was clearly a hypothetical conversation between two independent parties and, as such, has nothing whatsoever to do with Aston Villa."
And so Aston Villa sought to distance itself from the furore surrounding Sven-Goran Eriksson's apparent desire to facilitate a Middle East takeover of the club with himself installed as one of the country's highest-paid managers.
The statement was as swift as it was terse. Aston Villa wanted nothing more to do with the wild speculation that once again surrounds the England head coach.
There would, we were told, be nothing more to add from the club.
But the Villa hierarchy are now alert to what lies deep within the mind of Eriksson, even if there is little or no proof that he intends to act on it.
The response to what amounts to a Sunday newspaper "sting" operation to elicit - by fair means or foul - a story from the controversial Swede is typical of Aston Villa.
Whether they are flattered, worried or indifferent to yesterday's potentially damaging reports, senior figures at the Birmingham club must at least be intrigued.
If the News of the World's reports are accurate, Eriksson has seemingly suggested Aston Villa is ripe for a multi-million pound takeover.
"Aston Villa is for sale," Eriksson reportedly told an undercover reporter posing as an Arab businessman.
"The chairman is an old man. He wants to go. He's sick."
Futhermore, should the outrageous happen and Eriksson is named as the next Villa manager, he would have little difficulty in persuading David Beckham, the England captain and Real Madrid galactico, to join the club and move to the Midlands.
Does the England captain dance to Eriksson's tune?
"Beckham and I, we have a relationship like that (he crossed his fingers). We are friends, but a lot of respect. He will come back tomorrow. And it's up to me to convince him that this is the right place to be."
He added: "Aston Villa will sell more shirts in one week than they did for the last ten years."
So a new owner, a new manager and a new superstar - just what the Villa faithful might have been dreaming of.
Except, in reality, it will probably never happen.
But does that mean Doug Ellis, the 83-year-old Aston Villa chairman, should not be concerned that the country's most significant manager - he coaches the national side! - even harbours these thoughts at the back of his mind?
Should not David O'Leary be concerned that such a high profile and arguably successful manager has his eye on the Villa hot-seat?
Eriksson even reportedly wants to bring with him Adrian Bevington, the Football Association's director of communications.
For what he now claims were off- the-cuff remarks made over a jovial, and alcohol-laden, dinner, Eriksson appears to have clear and defined plans at the back of his mind.
Even his agent, Athole Still, reportedly suggests #25 million would secure a controlling interest in the club. Aston Villa has been the subject of a #64 million takeover offer from an Irish property consortium led by Solihull businessman Michael Neville on behalf of the Comer brothers.
This latest flurry of interest in the lub could be a catalyst for that deal.
There is no doubt that Eriksson, Still and lawyer Richard Des Voeux, who visited Dubai under the illusion that they were to discuss proposals for a football academy and with the knowledge of the FA, have been "done up like a kipper" but it is the very fact that the England coach walked into such a trap that is cause for most concern.
Usually a guarded and secretive man who chooses his words carefully, it appears Eriksson was blind to the ruse from beginning to end.
Wined and dined at the lavish Burj Al-Arab hotel and on a luxury yacht, the England coach's tongue appears to have been loosened to the extent that he divulged some of his innermost thoughts.
The FA seem unperturbed and yesterday confirmed their support for the 57-year-old manager.
Despite the embarrassment that the revelations must have caused at Soho Square, an FA statement issued yesterday read: "The Football Association can confirm that England head coach SvenGoran Eriksson continues to have the full support of the organisation.
"This follows conversations between FA chief executive Brian Barwick and Sven and subsequent conversations involving Brian with FA chairman Geoff Thompson, International Committee chairman Noel White and senior FA figures."
Perhaps the FA need not be concerned. Why shouldn't Sven be allowed to ponder his future after this summer's World Cup?
Why shouldn't he consider being part of a deal to assume control at a Premier League football club?
These are all questions for the future, over which no-one has control but Eriksson's reported comments about some of his players and his job are even more unsettling.
At a time when preparations are being made for Germany and Eriksson himself has insisted on creating the right atmosphere in which his players and therefore the team can flourish, his indiscreet ramblings - fuelled by champagne and high iving or not - must be alarming.
His excuse for an apology - issued only through the FA website - may not be enough to quell players such as David Beckham, Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand.
Nor should the nation's football fans - many of whom already believe him not to be worth his #3 million-a-year salary - brush aside his ambitions.
Eriksson said: "I would like to assure everyone, especially the fans, that I'm 100 per cent committed to the England job.
"I've told the FA this and I value the great support I have received from them.
"I have spoken with the players concerned today and I have been very pleased with their reaction and am confident my relationship with them has not been damaged in any way."
But Beckham, Owen, Rooney and Ferdinand would be right to be just a little peeved at the manager's words.
He described Rooney as "bad-tempered" and "coming from a poor family", Ferdinand was "lazy sometimes", while he painted Owen as being driven by money to go to Newcastle.
Beckham was "frustrated at Real Madrid" and "because this is his third season never winning anything and he can't see things are going to be better."
All that is possibly no more than what the average punter might be discussing in the pub tonight but it is certainly not what Eriksson should be disclosing to relative strangers.
Today's players - because of, rather than despite, their vast power and wealth - need to be treated delicately.
Let's hope we do not discover their true feelings over their mentor's comments on the eve of the World Cup.