Will Manchester City make United regret not signing this starlet in 2009?

Manchester United's deal to sign Adem Ljajic fell apart in 2009 - but now Manchester City are said to be interested.

Originally I titled this article with the idea that Adem Ljajic was a Manchester United ‘reject’. Although it quickly dawned on me that he was far from it. His ‘rejection’ from Manchester United in 2009 had a helping hand from other forces; in particular the Home Office who refused him a Work Permit.

And while United could have signed him and loaned him out elsewhere in the end they reportedly decided that it was not worth the hassle.

The reaction from those connected to Ljajic was perhaps slightly exaggerated. For example Ivan Tomic, then Director of Football at his former club Partizan Belgrade, had this to say on the matter:

"I think that they will regret this decision in future." 

And while that may have not, at the time, been a statement that worried United fans and officials; that could all be about to change if reports in Italy are to be believed.

After his transfer to United had its life support pulled he instead signed for Italian side Fiorentina for €8 million. Italy has always had a more lenient approach to the employment of players from the Balkans so it was no surprise to see him turn up in Serie A.

But in the three-and-a-half years since making the move to Florence he has been a revelation.

Last season, playing as an advanced midfielder, was his best yet for La Viola and that has left him a transfer target for many a club this summer.

And with his contract expiring in 2014 there is no wonder.

But at the moment the only solid interest is coming from AC Milan. However the Rossoneri are willing to wait until 2014 to tie up his transfer and therefore save money on a transfer fee by signing him on a Bosman. 

There was hope they would go for a permanent move if Robinho could have been sold to former club Santos; however the two parties failed to come to a mutual agreement.

But now it seems another team could be interested; Manchester City.

City are widely reported to be in conversation with the agency of another Fiorentina forward Stevan Jovetic; which also represents Ljajic.

And reports in Italy suggest that Ljajic’s availability has also been highlighted to Manuel Pellegrini’s side.

With Fiorentina recently spending big cash on Mario Gomez, and another big money deal in the pipe-line for Palermo midfielder Josip Illicic, they are reluctant to see Ljajic leave for nothing in a years’ time so are said to be happy to consider reasonable offers for the 21-year-old talent.

And if Ljajic was to sign on at The Etihad and play like he can then the words of Tomic may have resonance.

image: © yoca91

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