Roberto Mancini remains keen on taking Alessio Cerci to Manchester City, but admits he faces a battle to lure him away from Fiorentina.
The 24-year-old winger is regarded as one of Serie A's hottest properties, with his playmaking abilities making him a useful addition to any side.
City were keen to add him to their ranks last season, but saw Fiorentina pip them to his signature.
Mancini was prepared to make a second approach this year, but was again forced to back off once it became clear that the Viola had no intention of selling.
The Blues boss has refused to rule out a fresh raid in the future, though, with Cerci a player he believes is destined for the very top.
"I have followed him since the 2007/08 season when he was on loan at Pisa from Roma," Mancini told Corriere dello Sport.
"Cerci had just turned 20 but he immediately struck me as an extraordinary talent. He is one of only a few players in the world who can win a game by himself, one that can solve everything.
"I hoped to bring him to the Premier League when I took the City job but I saw that Fiorentina and my friend Sinisa Mihajlovic were interested and I stepped back.
"It was right that he went there, a good club that has contributed to his development.
"We tried again this summer because I believed he could make a decisive contribution at City. I thought we were getting close, but Fiorentina took him off the market.
"I will continue to follow him. Maybe in the future we will work together."
Cerci has given his take on a summer of speculation regarding his future, and claims he never considered a switch to City to be on the cards.
He said: "Why didn't I ask for a transfer to Manchester City? Because I appreciate the people here at Fiorentina. I have discovered a different Florence."