Barcelona, April 9: Barcelona abandoned plans to sign Paul Pogba in 2016 because they could not compete with Manchester United's financial muscle, Blaugrana president Josep Maria Bartomeu has revealed.
Pogba rejoined United from Serie A champions Juventus in an £89million move almost three years ago.
Barca had hoped to hijack the France star's return to Old Trafford but aborted their bid after learning of the fee they were required to match, which was then a world record.
Speculation linking 26-year-old Pogba to the La Liga giants has resurfaced this season and he will be a central figure when Barca and United meet in the Champions League quarter-finals, beginning with the first leg in Manchester on Wednesday (April 10).
"In the summer of 2015, Paul Pogba was playing in Turin and we simply told Juve that, if one day they decide to sell the player, we would be interested," Bartomeu said in an interview with ESPN.
"When they sold the player, they told us what the offer would have to be and we couldn't afford that amount of money at the time.
"So he went to United, and he's making them better as a team because he's one of the stars of the world of football right now."
Rumours of Pogba's apparent interest in a switch to Spain intensified earlier this season as a result of his difficult relationship with former Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho.
Bartomeu declined to fuel discussion about the possibility of Barca renewing their interest in the World Cup winner.
"I prefer not to talk about players from other teams because I am sure there are also players at Barca that can make other teams better," he said.
"What I have to recognise is that United, in the last few years, have created a very good group, good players that are coming through.
"I am sure next season they will be candidates for the Premier League, and this year for the Champions League."