Arsene Wenger snubbed the chance to sign Juventus midfielder Mario Lemina, who completed a club record £18.1m ($23.4m) move to Southampton on Tuesday (8 August).
Arsenal were linked with a move for the midfielder earlier in the summer transfer window as the French coach looked for reinforcements, but they failed to make a concrete offer and he has now moved to the south coast ahead of the upcoming Premier League season.
According to the London Evening Standard, Arsenal were the first to show interest in signing the Gabon international ahead of their English top-flight rivals but despite getting positive reports from scouts, Wenger blocked the move in order to focus on strengthening other areas of the squad.
The report claims that the Frenchman made it clear that he had the final word in terms of transfers after he rejected various recommendations from club insiders to sign Lemina, who was surplus to requirements at Juventus. It is believed that opinion was divided owing to the midfielder's lack of game time with the Serie A giants last season.
Arsenal have since strengthened in defence and attack, bringing in left-back Sead Kolasinac on a free transfer from Schalke and club-record signing Alexandre Lacazette from Ligue 1 outfit Lyon. Wenger has confirmed that the club are still active in the transfer market and revealed interest in AS Monaco's Thomas Lemar, who remains a priority target despite AS Monaco rejecting multiple bids.
Lemina joined Juventus on a permanent basis last summer after spending a season on loan during the 2015/16 campaign. He impressed during his debut campaign with the club which saw the Turin club make his loan move permanent, but struggled to displace regular starters Sami Khedira, Miralem Pjanic and Claudio Marchisio last season as he made just eight Serie A starts.
Southampton vice-chairman Les Reed was delighted at Lemina's capture and believes signing a player from the club if Juventus' stature shows a significant 'statement of intent' from the club. The 23-year-old midfielder also expressed delight at completing the move and believes the style of football played by the St Mary's outfit will suit him.
"Mario is an outstanding talent who has already achieved a great deal in his career, winning a number of titles and gaining experience of playing on some of the biggest stages in world football," Reed told Southampton's official site.
"Investing in a player of Mario's quality and buying from a club like Juventus is a significant statement of intent from the club, and this is a purchase that has set another club-record fee," the Saints chief added.
"I am really happy to have signed for Southampton. I think that it was the project that attracted me the most and the one my family was really behind. Therefore, I'm really happy to be here," Lemina told the club's official site.