Spurs stood firm last summer in spite of the player handing in a transfer request amid multiple bids from Chelsea. City now look likely to make a move for the highly-rated midfielder, although Mancini admitted it would be hard to prise Modric away from White Hart Lane.
"Luka Modric is an outstanding footballer, a great player," Mancini was quoted as saying in The Sun. "He is definitely one of the best in the Premier League, but it is by no means easy to get him because he plays for a big club, Tottenham. It is unlikely that they would let him leave."
Speaking on a trip to Bosnia this week, Mancini said many players from the former Yugoslavia displayed similar traits.
"We are lucky to have another great player from these parts in Edin Dzeko," Mancini said. "I have worked with quite a few players from these parts - not just Croatians but Bosnians, Serbs and Montenegrins.
"I have many friends among them and I am very proud of it. They are really something special and they mostly play with invention and creativity."