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'RVP turned down City for United'

Alex Ferguson has claimed Robin van Persie turned down Manchester City's advances long before Manchester United secured the signing that could win them the Premier League title.

Van Persie's presence at Old Trafford has been the subject of irritation to City boss Roberto Mancini, who placed the Dutchman at the top of his list of transfer targets last summer, only to lose out to his biggest rivals.

Mancini blamed Blues' former director of football Brian Marwood for the failure, believing Van Persie could have been acquired if City had moved quicker.

Ferguson does not believe that is the case.

In fact, when United made their move, he felt Juventus were the biggest threat.

"He (Van Persie) told me himself that he turned them down," said Ferguson.

"Juventus made a massive offer to the boy. I thought they were our biggest threat. But fortunately he signed for us."

After years of speaking about value and youth, Ferguson spent £24million on a player edging towards 30, with only a year left on his contract and a dubious injury record.

To an outsider, it seemed like a gamble. To Ferguson it was anything but.

"It was a lot of money for a player in the last year of his contract," said the Scot.We wanted him badly, so we were prepared to go the extra mile."