Modric is expected to stay at Madrid, where he has been since 2012, but the 33-year-old was linked with moves to Inter last year and rivals Milan in recent months.
Maldini, acknowleding the midfielder's blend of experience and talent, says there was never any negotiation for the 2018 Ballon d'Or winner.
"We never negotiated for Modric, but we've said to [coach Marco] Giampaolo this club are looking for good young players and some experienced ones," Rossoneri technical director Maldini told a news conference.
"The growth of young players takes place through the presence of experienced players. Modric would be perfect here, but we've never negotiated for him."
Maldini was speaking alongside Rade Krunic and Theo Hernandez as they were presented as Milan players on Friday.
Hernandez, a left-back just as Maldini was in his playing days, was delighted to have joined Milan.
"It is a real honour to be sitting next to [Maldini]," Hernandez said. "He will always be the best full-back in the world.
"We met in Ibiza, where he had some very beautiful and sincere words for me. Since then, I have had the desire to join Milan. I trained hard to succeed and in the end I did it."