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The manager feels the striker has been the difference between his side and rivals United so far in the title race, and says he could have improved his team in the Champions League

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini says that his side were "very close" to signing Manchester United striker Robin van Persie in the summer, and says he did not join their rivals because of money.

The Dutchman has already scored 14 goals in 20 Premier League appearances for United as they sit seven points clear at the top of the table, and Mancini says that he could be crucial to deciding the title race.

"We were very close to signing him," Mancini told reporters. "I know what the reason was, but I won't say. It wasn't about money.
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"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 14 league goals and it's clear he has changed their situation. At the moment, he is the difference between us and United.

"I don't know if he listened to his heart. He took his decision but three or four months before that we were there."

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