Juventus chief executive Giuseppe Marotta said the Serie A champions never wanted to sell Paul Pogba but the French midfielder asked to leave.
Pogba, 23, left Juventus in favour of a return to Manchester United in a world-record transfer in August.
The money from Pogba's switch to United helped fund Juve's lucrative deal for Gonzalo Higuain and while happy with the club's transfer business, Marotta would have preferred to keep the France international
"We always said we never wanted to sell Pogba, as he was an important figure for the club, the coach and the fans," Marotta said in quotes attributed to JTV.
"He wanted a change of scenery and to experience a different situation, so faced with that we had to enter into negotiations and try to make him happy.
"We had already targeted Higuain and he was the main image we had in our head, but it was a coincidence that this happened at the same time that Pogba asked to leave."
Pogba has made a strong start to life at Old Trafford, helping United to back-to-back wins prior to the international break.
United have won their three opening Premier League fixtures heading into Saturday's Manchester derby.
In the absence of Pogba, Juve have started their title defence with two consecutive victories heading into the weekend's visit of Sassuolo.