Mancini: I nearly took Torres to City

Italian reveals he was close to buying £50m striker from Liverpool but went for Dzeko instead

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The Independent Football

Fernando Torres could have been lining up for Manchester City at Stamford Bridge this afternoon instead of Chelsea, Roberto Mancini has revealed. City's manager said the club considered buying him in the winter transfer window two years ago when it became clear Liverpool would sell, but they ended up taking Edin Dzeko for half the price instead.

"Two years ago we had a chance," Mancini said. "We decided for other players, also because of his cost. There were four or five strikers, we talked about all of these, and after we decided. We chose Edin because we were missing the qualities he had, [he was] strong in the air and different from Torres."

Although Dzeko has been in and out of the side, City supporters will unquestionably feel that they got the better deal than today's opponents. The Bosnian striker has scored 32 goals for them from 45 starts and 36 appearances as a substitute. This season he has seven goals for City and five more for his country. Torres's record under his various Chelsea managers is a lamentable 19 goals in 87 games, and even Roman Abramovich, who was so keen to sign him for £50 million, has told the new manager, Rafa Benitez, that the Spaniard needs to improve.

Mancini was nevertheless complimentary. "I think he is a good player. Every striker can have a difficult moment but for me he is always dangerous. He had a problem after Liverpool but I don't know why. One top striker can have one year where he is a different player. After that he has scored important goals for Chelsea and won a Champions' League."

City need a win today to regain their position as League leaders after Manchester United beat Queens Park Rangers at Old Trafford yesterday. The visitors were watched from the stand by Harry Redknapp, who was confirmed as their new manager in succession to Mark Hughes yesterday morning. Redknapp said: "I'm delighted to be back in the managerial hot seat at QPR. When I spoke to the shareholders and they told me about their plans I knew this was too good an opportunity to turn down.

"There's no doubt there's a lot of ability in the squad, but for one reason or another things haven't gone as well as everyone expected since the start of the season. I can't wait to get to work and get the results necessary to kick-start our season."

He will take charge for the first time for the away game at Sunderland on Tuesday.