Most football managers hold their own counsel when it comes to discussing other people’s jobs.
When asked they politely change the subject, or say it isn’t fair on the man currently in charge.
It was a hypothetical ring, existing somewhere in the future, but his intentions were clear.
“Manchester City are something I want to do, yes,” he said.
City will be familiar with de Boer’s management style following their Champions League group matches earlier this season.
The four points Ajax took off City in a 3-2 home win and 2-2 draw at the Etihad played a huge part in their elimination not just from the Champions League, but from European competition altogether.
And while City fight to maintain any chance of overhauling Manchester United in the Premier League, Ajax are five points clear in the Eredivisie having lost just two games all season.
As the Blues continue their attempts to bring a bit of Barcelona to the North West, they could do worse than appoint a man who once played for the Spanish giants, and whose philosophy as a manager is very much akin to the school of total football once displayed by his countrymen.
On the verge of making it a hat-trick of league titles with Ajax, he may be ready for a new challenge.
It is something his club director Marc Overmars has already acknowledged. And following de Boer’s words regarding City, Roberto Mancini may be feeling the pressure he has grown accustomed to; the hand of a phantom manager ushering him aside.
It came once in the guise of Jose Mourinho, who was talked of as a potential successor only to be swayed by a potential “homecoming”. While the spectre of Pep Guardiola would have loomed heavy over more than just Mancini before he chose Bayern Munich.
For now the Italian remains, and having guided his team into the FA Cup final, and with bragging rights if nothing else secured in their tousle with United, he may have time yet.
But should he not regain the league title next season, there are plenty who would like to try; de Boer for one, who has all but accepted the challenge.
Can you see de Boer replacing Mancini? And what must the Italian do to ensure he keeps his job for the long term?
image: © andybrannan