Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas says Arsenal had a bid rejected for Yoann Gourcuff during the summer.
The playmaker, who was dogged by injury last season was heavily linked with a move to north London on deadline day of the transfer window.
And Aulas' comments confirm that Arsenal were interested in the Frenchman.
"There was an offer from Arsenal and I said no," he said "Simply because he has a five-year contract, he wants to succeed here and I believe in him.
"He joined Lyon last year, in the time after the World Cup, and it was not easy," Aulas added.
"It is not a mystery - a writer needs his hand, a footballer needs his heel."
Arsenal eventually opted for Mikel Arteta and Yossi Benayoun on deadline day, but may decide to bid again for Gourcuff, and fellow target Yann M'Vila during the January transfer window.