at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
London – Roberto Mancini has revealed he wanted to sign Fernando Torres – but pulled out because the price was too high.
The Manchester City manager chased Torres when the Spaniard was regarded as one of the world’s top strikers and looking to leave Liverpool in January 2011.
But when the figures quoted were regarded as too high even for City’s ultra-wealthy owners from Abu Dhabi, Mancini opted to sign Edin Dzeko from Wolfsburg for £27million, just over half the record £50m Chelsea ended up paying for Torres in the same transfer window.
Mancini’s revelation adds an intriguing twist to this afternoon’s game at Stamford Bridge when Chelsea will be led out for the first time by Rafa Benitez and City defend the last remaining unbeaten league record in England this season.
Mancini said: “We were interested in Torres two years ago. There was a moment when we had a chance but the price was too high and we decided on other players. Now he’s at Chelsea.
“We had four or five strikers in mind but, in the end, we signed Edin. We talked about this player [Torres] but we were probably missing a player with different qualities like Edin. He’s strong in the air and is different from Fernando.
“I still think Torres is a good player. Every striker can have a difficult moment, but for me he is always dangerous.”
Torres has scored just once in his past eight games for Chelsea and managed only 19 goals in 87 appearances overall since his record transfer to Stamford Bridge.
One of the reasons Benitez has been hired by Roman Abramovich following the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo is to get his former Liverpool striker firing again like he did at Anfield.
Mancini warned: “Fernando had a problem after Liverpool, but he’s scored important goals for Chelsea and he won the Champions League with them.” – Mail On Sunday