Mancini: We wanted to sign Torres
Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has revealed he was tempted to sign Fernando Torres from Liverpool last year, but his £50m price tag proved too much even for the vast transfer coffers he has at his disposal.
Mancini instead opted to sign Edin Dzeko from Wolfsburg in the January transfer window of 2011, but he does not subscribe to the theory that he was fortunate to avoid striking a deal for Torres, even though the Spanish striker has struggled to make his mark since joining Chelsea for a British record fee.
"Yes, we wanted him and two years ago we had a chance but now he's at Chelsea," Mancini said in Ireland's Sunday World newspaper. "After this, we decided on other players and so we went for Edin.
"The price was too high for Torres. We had four or five strikers in mind. We talked about this player but afterwards we decided we were probably missing a player with different qualities, like Edin."
Mancini has backed Torres to rediscover his form at Chelsea, with the arrival of his former Liverpool mentor Rafael Benitez as the club's new manager a fresh chance for him to find his feet.
"Torres had a problem after Liverpool, but I don't know why," Mancini said. "This is something that can happen.
"A top striker can have one year when he's a different player. The history of football is full of this, but he's scored important goals for Chelsea, he won the Champions League with them. I still think he's a good player. Every striker can have a difficult moment, but for me he is always dangerous."
Meanwhile, Mancini has hinted that he may try to persuade Yaya Toure to skip the African Nations Cup in January, after his absence from the City team when he played in the tournament last year so nearly derailed their title challenge.
"I spoke with Yaya, but it's a very difficult situation," Mancini said. "It's a tough decision because for any player it's important to play in his national team. If there's a chance he can stay here, that's better for us."