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Transfer tales from years gone by

City almost snapped up Luka Modric for a bargain fee.

That's according to Stuart Brennan in this morning's MEN.

But the signing could have come at a huge price... though not in money.

Writes Brennan:  "Manchester City nearly picked up a huge bargain in the weeks BEFORE Sheikh Mansour’s takeover in 2008.

"And if the Blues had completed the £10million deal, they might never have signed David Silva.

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"Former City club secretary Bernard Halford has revealed how they had lined up a deal with Dinamo Zagreb for their 22-year-old midfield schemer Luka Modric.

"Blues defender Vedran Corluka, who played with Modric at Dinamo and for the Croatia national team, had been raving about the youngster.


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"Garry Cook, appointed chief executive by Shinawatra in May 2008, had his hands tied by the Thai owner’s problems in his homeland, where his £800m assets had been frozen by the government.

"That had originally delayed Corluka’s own £8m move from Dinamo, until City found the funds elsewhere.

"Corluka urged his new club to move for Modric, who was available for £10million, and a deal was in place – but the funds could not be found.

"Said Halford, now a life president of the club: 'When Dr Shinawatra was here we could have signed Modric.

'Shinawatra was very excited – he had come to me to say we were about to make a big signing, one of the best players in the world, and that's who it was.

'Charlie Corluka had lined it up for Modric to come to us, but when the money was needed, Shinawatra's money was frozen in Thailand.

'He came to me on the first day of the season to say he had to resign, so we didn't get Modric.

'It would have been for around £10million – and now he's in for the Ballon D'Or.'

Elsewhere, Sports Mole suggest City are monitoring a promising La Liga left-back as they write: “City boss Guardiola is reportedly desperate to bring Real Betis defender Junior Firpo to the Etihad Stadium.

“Junior only made his first-team debut for Betis in February and has since scored twice in 15 La Liga appearances for the Spanish outfit.

“The 22-year-old is regarded as a left-back, but has played in central defence and as a winger for Betis B.

“According to El Desmarque, City have scouted Junior on a number of occasions this season, and Guardiola wants to bring the Dominican to the Premier League champions to boost his defence.

“The report adds that the Citizens would also not be put off the £54m release clause which was included in the five-year contract Junior signed at Betis just last month.”

And Read Bundesliga report the Blues could also be in the market for another holding midfielder in January.

The article reads: “Pep Guardiola could turn his attention to Borussia Dortmund’s Julian Weigl in the January transfer window as he looks to sign a successor at Manchester City to Fernandinho, the Evening Standard reports.

“Despite Fernandinho having played a key role in City’s Premier League success last season and earning himself a two-year contract extension in January, Guardiola is worried about the lack of cover for the player who turned 33 in May.

“City missed out on both the signings of Fred and Jorginho in the summer who Guardiola had seen as alternative options to Fernandinho, with them joining Manchester United and Chelsea respectively.

“The defensive midfield position is believed to be a priority for Guardiola in January, and the former Bayern Munich coach could look to raid Borussia Dortmund for Weigl.

“The City boss is believed to be a huge fan of Weigl and he would most likely prove a cheaper option that fellow City target Ruben Neves, who Wolves value at £60m.”

More gossip, quotes and rumours tomorrow…

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