Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini secretly met with officials at French club Monaco to discuss becoming their manager last season, according to a new report.
The Guardian claims the Italian verbally agreed a five-year contract worth £6.4m a year, after three months of secret negotiations with Monaco.
However he subsequently reneged on the offer, which would have made him the third most highly paid manager in the world, and decided to stay at Eastlands.
It is reported that Mancini accepted the offer in April, just after City had lost 1-0 to Arsenal - a defeat which, at the time, appeared to put them out of the title race.
However, Manchester United subsequently lost their eight-point lead, allowing City to claim the title with victory over Queens Park Rangers on the final day of the season and prompting their manager to commit his future to the club.
Some commentators have suggested that Mancini viewed the Monaco offer as insurance against his dismissal by City. Sources close to the club claim that, after the Arsenal defeat, the Blues' board discussed sacking the former Inter Milan boss if City did not win the league.
Mancini was also openly unhappy about the influence exerted by City's football administrator Brian Marwood on player recruitment. Marwood was demoted earlier this week, following the appointment of Spaniard Txiki Begiristain in the new role of director of football.
City are one of the richest clubs in the world, backed by the multi-billionaire Abu Dhabi royal Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. However Monaco have their own billionaire owner in Russian Dmitry Rybolovlev, and have been widely tipped to become one of Europe's leading clubs over the next few seasons.
Neither City nor Mancini were available for comment on reports of the Monaco talks, and it is unclear whether the club will take any action against the man who guided them to the title last season.
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