Arsene Wenger had revealed that he nearly purchased Yoann Gourcuff in the summer transfer period, but the Arsenal manager decided against a deal because the midfielder was injured.
Gourcuff underwent surgery on his ankle in July, and has also suffered from knee problems recently. The 25-year-old is not taking part in international duty with France this weekend, and is hoping to be back in action for his club after the break.
And while Wenger had hoped that he could sign Gourcuff, who is one-year into a five-year contract with the Ligue 1 outfit, the Arsenal manager said that the injuries complicated matters.
“I was interested in Yoann Gourcuff because at one time he was available,” Wenger told Eurosport.
“Unfortunately, we were in a hurry. We had to have players performing soon. He was at that time about to have surgery. The timing was not good for us. But I had learned of his medical condition.
“Unfortunately, we were in doubt because it was not certain if Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas would leave.”
The admission shows just how difficult the transfer period was for Arsenal, with both Nasri and Fabregas leaving the club in August and not leaving Wenger much time to find replacements.
Gourcuff has often been compared by the French press to the legendary Zinedine Zidane, and despite only just beginning his contract with Lyon, he is attracting attention from numerous European clubs.
And Arsenal will no doubt be keeping an eye on the star as he recovers from injury, with January a possible time to chase the player if he fully recovers.