Mancini admits to Monaco talks last season


ROBERTO MANCINI has confirmed he was in discussions to take charge of Monaco last season before signing a five-year deal to stay at Manchester City.

On Thursday, the Guardian revealed how the Italian manager held extensive talks with the French second division team with a view to joining them at the close of the last campaign. Mancini opted to remain at City after leading them to the Premier League title.

He said yesterday: “Last year I was very close with seven, eight teams but I prefer to stay here because I work well here the first three years.

“Also, if someone thinks we didn’t do a good job – we won three trophies in two years and I’m very happy, we work well.”

Mancini is also buoyed by the recent appointments of Ferran Soriano as City’s chief executive and, last week, Txiki Begiristain as the new director of football.

“I think the next three or four years will be very important for us. I think that now with Ferran and Begiristain we can work very well – we can improve our team.”

Asked whether he had been unsure about his future at City when the Monaco deal was on the table, Mancini said: “I sign a contract for the next five years because I believe in this squad, because I can work with serious people like the owner and the chairman, really serious people, and to work with these people is fantastic. It’s difficult to find people that work well with the manager and for me it’s a fantastic situation.”

The arrival of Begiristain to join Soriano, both having held the same corresponding posts at Barcelona, has led to speculation that Pep Guardiola, the former coach of the Catalan club, who is currently on sabbatical, may replace Mancini.

But the Italian said: “I’m very happy because we have a new sporting director – he worked for Barca and has big experience with a top team. I have my job, Txiki will have his job, Ferran has his job, but together I think we can work very [well], we can work quickly. Also if you write Txiki is here and maybe next year we arrive with Guardiola or another manager, I don’t know, this is not my problem.”

Mancini also confirmed he would still be in charge of choosing the club’s recruits, despite the arrival of a new director of football.

“Like last year, or the last two years, it doesn’t change anything. I’m sure we can work because if you can buy players very quickly rather than wait until the last few days of the market, it is better for the team. You can prepare the team well.”

After today’s league game at West Ham United, City host Ajax in the Champions League knowing a win is vital to keep any hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages alive. Asked whether he was concerned elimination would affect his future, Mancini replied: “No.” Guardian service

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