Manchester City had a “very concrete” interest in signing Romelu Lukaku in 2020 before making a decision against the move.
The Belgian striker returned to Chelsea from Inter Milan in a deal worth £97.5m in the summer.
In the meantime, the Citizens were linked to a group of attackers, most notably Tottenham striker Harry Kane and Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund, but they eventually failed to get a replacement for Sergio Aguero.
Lukaku’s agent Federico Pastorillo has now revealed that City were once keen on his client last year as they looked to someone to fill the shoes of the historic scorer.
Pastorello said Telegraph Sport: “I think I can say without disappointing anyone that Manchester City came the year before.
“During the pandemic, it was very complicated by trying to travel to places to meet people.
“It started very concrete and dangerous, but in the end they changed their idea or weren’t ready to make it happen.
“Honestly, it was very difficult after the first year – it was almost impossible. He didn’t win the league with Inter and wanted to do it, and it was really impossible. After that [City] I focused on Harry Kane this summer.”
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Lukaku made a strong start at Stamford Bridge, scoring four goals in four before enduring six barren matches.
The 28-year-old striker is currently suffering from an ankle injury but warned his representative ahead of the summer window that it was “now or never” whether he would fulfill his dream of playing for the Blues again.
Pastorillo added: “That’s what I said to Romelu, that it could be now or not, because he probably wasn’t 100 per cent aware of it at first.
“I had to tell him to remember that sometimes there are trains and when they pass, they don’t come back.
“Because of the situation, because of the market and the lack of many possibilities, this was the Romelu train.
“We had the opportunity to be in the right place at the right moment and I told him that if he wanted to come back, he had to take it now.
“Chelsea were 100 per cent sure he was the player, I’ve never had doubts, but I think they need to think twice before doing that.
“There were more offers before they reached the level that Inter accepted. There were four offers and the fifth was the one who ended the talks.
“Looking back, I think everyone got a really good deal.”
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