Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici has expressed his belief that Paul Pogba will struggle to find a new club when football resumes after the coronavirus crisis.
Pogba's future at Manchester United has been the subject of much speculation over the past year. The 27-year-old admitted that he was open to a new challenge away from Old Trafford last summer, amid reported interest from Real Madrid.
United were able to retain his services for the 2019-20 campaign, but a persistent ankle injury has limited his contribution on the pitch.
Madrid have been tipped to launch a formal bid for Pogba when the transfer market reopens, with Zinedine Zidane reportedly eager to link up with a fellow Frenchman at Santiago Bernabeu. Juventus has also been mooted as a potential landing spot for the midfielder, who played at the Allianz Stadium between 2012 and 2016.
However, Paratici has all but ruled out a summer deal, insisting the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to have a detrimental effect on the market due to the financial losses facing top clubs across Europe.
"He's a fantastic player, we know him as a champion," the Juve chief told Sky Italia when addressing rumours of a move for Pogba. "But something will change after this crisis, because now also top players like Paul will have fewer clubs that can guarantee them such a high salary."
United have had to make do without Pogba for the majority of the 2019-20 campaign, but he was on the comeback trail before the season was postponed.
The France international has stepped up his recovery while in self-isolation, and publicly stated that he is "hungry" to get back on the pitch with the Red Devils as soon as possible.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men have had a mixed year in the absence of a key performer, and sat fifth in the Premier League standings when play was stopped on March 13.
However, the January arrivals of Bruno Fernandes and Odion Ighalo lifted the mood at Old Trafford, with the former considered to be the talismanic figure United have missed in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era.
It has been suggested that Fernandes could permanently replace Pogba in Solskjaer's line up, but the Portuguese has made no secret of his admiration towards the World Cup winner.
“Everyone expects from Paul like they expect from [Cristiano] Ronaldo at Juventus or [Lionel] Messi at Barcelona," Fernandes told MUTV last month. "Everyone expects this from Paul in Manchester, because they know he has the qualities for this. The team, we have a lot of confidence in Paul.”