Carlton President Stephen Kernahan has emphatically dismissed speculation linking former Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse with the embattled Blues.
Touted as premiership favourites after demolishing the Magpies in Round 3, Carlton's season is threatening to fall apart following their third loss in the last four matches - a 54-point humiliation away to unheralded Port Adelaide on Saturday.
The Blues' sudden collapse has called into question the future of coach Brett Ratten, who had targeted a top-four finish as the minimum expectation for his team going into the 2012 campaign.
Former West Coast and Collingwood coach Malthouse, who led the Magpies to grand final success in 2010 before making way for Nathan Buckley at the end of last season, has been touted in some quarters as a potential replacement for Ratten.
But Carlton moved to quash the speculation in a statement released late Monday.
"We have never spoken to Mick about a role here at our club," Kernahan said.
"We have had no need to, as we have a mix of successful and knowledgeable coaches led by senior coach Brett Ratten.
"Instead of speculating on matters and looking for outside influences, and getting it wrong, it would be more appropriate to focus on the team's poor performance. That is what everyone at the club is doing, looking at turning this around."
"We have a number of our key personnel out injured, including the majority of our leadership group.
"However, that is part of the game, it does not excuse Saturday night's shocking performance."
Outspoken Collingwood president Eddie McGuire stoked the rumours early on Monday, using his Triple M radio show to describe Carlton as a good potential fit for Malthouse.
"Carlton would be a club that would have all of the infrastructure, the player list, the whole thing that would I'm sure at least make him lift his eye," McGuire said.
"A team of that ilk would be something that maybe would get Mick's attention ... if a spot became available he'd be the first bloke that people would look at."
McGuire's comments provoked a curt response from his Blues counterpart.
"I think it is absolutely inappropriate for other club presidents to be discussing or speculating on Carlton Football Club matters," Kernahan said.
"Eddie knows very clearly my stance on this matter. This is not the first time I have had to remind him to refrain from making such comments about our club, I hope it is the last."