“I had a pre-season with him. I am very thankful to him. I asked him: ‘What do you think next season for me? Do you think I will get a lot of game-time?’ He was very honest with me and said ‘I can’t promise you will have 20-30 games. You are young, you have to prove yourself’."
That was 2013. Fast forward three years and to say Can has proven himself would be an understatement: he is now a full Germany international and one of the Premier League's most dominant midfielders, since joining the Reds from Bayer Leverkusen in 2014.
This is a player who can play a big role in helping Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool to trophies next season, thus hindering Guardiola's Manchester City in the process, and the ex-Barcelona coach might be willing to promise him the ever-present season he couldn't back in Bavaria.
After all, with Yaya Toure very much on the decline and expected to leave, there is room at the Etihad for another towering figure in central midfield - and Can fits the bill perfectly.
Of course, Guardiola saw no need for a robust, all-action midfielder like Toure at Camp Nou, but the Ivorian's huge success in England should illustrate that such a player is a valuable commodity on these shores.
So much of Can's improvement has arguably been down to Klopp's arrival on Merseyside back in October, but it would be naive to suggest that he would unreservedly reciprocate that gratitude by sticking with the 48-year-old if another club came knocking.
Well, he might, but ex-Borussia Dortmund stars Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski owed more to Klopp than Can does, yet it did not stop them from abandoning their mentor in favour of joining Guardiola's Bayern in 2013 and 2014.
By virtue of the way in which Can speaks about the 45-year-old, there is an affection there. Liverpool fans must only hope that the soon-to-be Manchester City boss hasn't appreciated his emergence as much as them.
Given that Bayern had a buyback clause written into his Leverkusen contract - which was only eligible to be triggered in 2015 - it may suggest Guardiola didn't anticipate that being the end of their professional relationship.