While Roberto Mancini was still Inter Milan’s manager, one of the club’s big targets was Manchester City’s Yaya Touré.

However, the financial aspect of bringing the Ivorian to Italy proved to be a stumbling block, and talk of a transfer to China followed by a loan to Inter Milan was also speculated.

In the end, Mancini left as Inter’s man in charge to be replaced by Frank De Boer, and Yaya Touré stayed at Manchester City, with eyebrow raising rumours of Manchester United and Arsenal interest already emerging.

Interviewed on Wednesday by Corriere dello Sport, the Italian manager was asked about his second spell at the Serie A club, as well as his pursuit of the African star.

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He said: “Yaya was always one of my goals. We almost completed the transfer with President Thohir a year ago, but he preferred not to betray Manchester City, the club I brought him to.”

The manager went on to explain the former Barcelona midfielder is a player capable of being the difference between coming second or third and first in the league, such is his ability to be a difference maker.

Clearly not in Pep Guardiola’s short term plans (and a big doubt for his long term ones), the likeliest outcome for Yaya Touré will be leaving on a free next summer after agreeing a contract with another club from January onwards.