Manuel Pellegrini was something of a marmite figure among Manchester City fans by the end of his three-year tenure. His first season was memorable with City winning a double, but the side failed to challenge for the Premier League title in his second and third seasons, winning just the Capital One Cup in his final year in charge. Some believe he did a reasonable job, while others believe he underachieved given his resources.
If a report tonight in the Sunday Mirror by Simon Mullock is true, though, most Blues will sigh and mutter “Typical City”. Because, according to the newspaper, Pellegrini personally convinced sporting director, Txiki Begiristain, to decline a £30 million move for Argentine wonderkid, Paulo Dybala, in favour of signing Wilfried Bony from Swansea City in early 2015.
In Pellegrini’s defence, Bony had scored plenty of goals during his time at Swansea, but with the benefit of hindsight, City missed out on one of the world’s best young attackers, who eventually moved to Juventus from Palermo, for what would have been a reasonable price.
Dybala said in a magazine interview several years ago that his dream was to “play for Barcelona or Manchester City” and he would have moved to the Etihad has City firmed up their interest with an official offer, but Pellegrini mistakenly thought Bony would add what City needed to win the title that season.
The signings of Gabriel Jesus, Leroy Sané and Raheem Sterling, three of Europe’s most exciting attackers, should ease any annoyance this story causes, but there is no doubt that Dybala would have been quite the signing for City.
If City fancy going back for Dybala in future, Juventus are expected to hold out for a world record fee in excess of £100 million for the 23-year-old.
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