Roberto Mancini has admitted Manchester City may find it tough to fend off Manchester United and Juventus in the race to sign Arsenal forward Robin van Persie.
Netherlands international Van Persie is intent on moving on from Arsenal after telling the club he has no desire to extend a contract that is now in its final 12 months.
City, United and Juve are the three clubs jockeying for position, although Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger muddied the waters on Saturday when claiming no bids had been tabled for the 28-year-old.
Mancini claims in general terms City find it tough to buy as clubs slap a premium on their players due to the wealth of owner Sheikh Mansour, while in Van Persie's case the competition for his signature is stiff.
The Italian said: "When you talk about Manchester City, Manchester United and Juve, it is difficult for a player to choose between those three clubs.
"They are all top teams and I've no idea what will happen with him. If we have a chance to take him, we will try because we think he is a top striker.
"For now he is an Arsenal player and I think Arsenal are a top team. It is not easy for Van Persie and other players to leave them."
Mancini has spoken of his frustration with City's transfer activity, or lack of it, this summer but he has claimed life is tough when you have vast wealth to tap.
"It's not easy when City try to buy a player," he said. "The club we are buying from asks for 30 or 40 per cent more. For this reason it is sometimes difficult to do business. But I think also we need to work better."