The Partenopei president revealed that he tried to bring in the Argentine forward but also indicated that he wanted to hold onto Gonzalo Higuain
Dybala has been instrumental in the Old Lady's recovery from their poor start to the Serie A campaign, netting 12 goals to help the champions climb to within two points of leaders Napoli.
And with the two sides competing for the Scudetto this season, De Laurentiis has revealed that he once coveted the Bianconeri's star man, but insisted that he did not want to jeapordise Napoli's ability to hang onto the in-form Gonzalo Higuain.
"[Higuain and Dybala] are two different players," the Partenopei president told Sky Sports.
"But I'll hang onto Pipita. I tried to buy Dybala, but I saw that there were several strange situations, particularly abroad, so I left the deal alone. [If Dybala signed for Napoli] then I would have had to sell someone..."
De Laurentiis also revealed his confidence that Napoli can challenge Juventus for the Serie A title this season.
"Juve have a great club, a great coach, a great team, but we are not second to none," he said.