Arsenal had a €18 million bid for Palermo playmaker Abel Hernandez rejected last summer, according to the player's agent.
The Gunners have endured the losses of both Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, and currently occupy third in the Premier League table.
However, Vicenzo D'Ippolito, Hernandez's agent, says manager Arsene Wenger tried to rescue the situation, by snapping up the 21-year-old last summer.
"Last summer Arsenal bid for the boy. It was for 18m Euros but the club rejected. Wenger wanted him after the departure of Nasri and Cesc Fabregas, but could not close the deal," he said.
"Now there are rumours that Roma are interested in him but there is a minimum price established by Palermo and the president will not bring it down."
Hernandez has scored four goals this season in Serie A in a disappointing campaign for Palermo, who are 12 points off the European spots.
Wenger eventually opted to sign Mikel Arteta and Yossi Benayoun in an attempt to strengthen his midfield, amid a £50 million spending spree at the end of August.
Ex-skipper Fabregas was sold to Champions league holders Barcelona in the summer, with Nasri moving to rivals Manchester City.