In January 2011, City boss Mancini signed Edin Dzeko from German side Wolfsburg, while Torres moved to Stamford Bridge from Liverpool for £50 million - roughly twice the price of the Bosnian.
But Mancini revealed it could have been different, and was quoted as saying on the Independent website: "Two years ago we had a chance. We decided for other players, also because of his cost."
He added: "There were four or five strikers, we talked about all of these, and after we decided. We chose Edin because we were missing the qualities he had, [he was] strong in the air and different from Torres."
Torres has struggled mightily since joining Chelsea, but Mancini is still a fan.
"I think he is a good player," he said. "Every striker can have a difficult moment but for me he is always dangerous."