Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici says Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba’s return to the Serie A champions is “very difficult” to foresee.
The France international has continually been linked with resuming his career at the Allianz Stadium since leaving for Old Trafford in 2016 for £89 million ($114m).
Indeed, Pogba’s return to Italy appeared inevitable earlier this season amid a series of public fallings-out with Jose Mourinho.
But the sacking of the Portuguese boss and appointment of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been the catalyst for the 25-year-old’s return to form and reports that he wants to sign a new contract with the 20-time English champions.
And, as a result, the Juve hierarchy appear to have abandoned plans to bring Pogba back to Turin.
Paratici told Gazzetta dello Sport: “Will Pogba return to Juventus? No. In football, you never know, but I think it is very difficult.”
Central to Juventus all-but giving up on Pogba is their reported pursuit of James Rodriguez, who is not expected to remain at Bayern Munich – where he is currently on loan – beyond the end of the season.
Parent club Real Madrid are also likely to offload the Colombia international but, despite reports to the contrary, Juve do not appear braced to make a bid of their own.
“He’s certainly a great player, we must see,” Paratici said of the 27-year-old. “Improving a squad like ours is not easy.
“To improve on [Paulo] Dybala, [Douglas] Costa, [Juan] Cuadrado and [Federico] Bernardeschi is really hard.
“The first thing someone like me must not do is damage. It might sound easy, but it is not.”
Juventus are also thought to be the front-runners to sign highly-rated Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt this summer, despite interest from the likes of Manchester City and Barcelona – who have already signed Frenkie de Jong.
And Paratici added: “De Ligt is surely one of the best young players out there and we are following him with great attention.”
Another youngster, RB Salzburg’s Dominik Szoboszlai, is also a target but Juventus already have ambitions to loan him out to a Serie A rival, if they were to sign him.
“A talented boy, but we would need to find a Serie A team that would let him play many matches,” stated the club chief.
One deal the Bianconeri have completed ahead of the summer is for Aaron Ramsey, who has arrived on a free from Arsenal on a four-year deal worth £325,000-a-week ($417k).
“We signed him because he’s a player that’s different to the ones we have,” said Paratici. “He has more technique, but is less defensive and tactical.
“I think Ramsey has never found his best position, because he hasn’t played as a “mezz’ala” in a three-man midfield. That’s his position.”