ROBBING VAN PERSIE; 3,000 PLACES FOR YOU - P54-55 ROBERTO REVEALS HIS BIGGEST REGRET 'RVP MAY COST US TITLE' Mancini: I Nearly Signed Him for City ..and His Decision Could Cost Us Title 'RVP MAY COST US TITLE'
Byline: DAVID McDONNELL
ROBERTO MANCINI fears missing out on Robin van Persie will ultimately cost Manchester City their Premier League title.
Mancini claimed City were "very close" to signing the Dutch striker before he chose to join Manchester United from Arsenal for PS24million last August.
RVP has already scored 17 goals for United this season to help them open up a seven-point lead over City TURN TO PAGE 62
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Mancini has revealed for the first time how near City felt they were to signing Van Persie and how crucial the 29-year-old's decision has been in the title race.
The City boss said: "We were very close to signing him. I know what the reason was, but I won't say. It wasn't about money.
"We wanted Van Persie because we knew he was different from our other strikers. We wanted to improve our team, particularly for the Champions League.
"Van Persie is a very important player for United. He's scored 13 or 14 league goals and it's clear he has changed their situation. At the moment, he is the difference between us and United. …