Arrizabalaga's contract at Athletic Bilbao expires in June and although he has been in talks over a new deal for several months, he is yet to reach an agreement.
"Liverpool were really interested, but it was Arsenal that were closest to finalising a deal", VP Vadim Vasilyev told Sky today when asked just how close Lemar came to leaving. "I didn't check but I suspect it's too much for us". We are very happy that we managed to keep him.
Lemar's interest in a Premier League move will encourage those wanting to sign the 21-year-old, with reports that Tottenham and Chelsea are also keen on the forward. Next summer, though, could be a different matter, and Vasilyev sounds largely resigned to the idea of losing the player at the end of the season.
Lemar was one of the most prominent names in last summer's transfer window.
Though Liverpool were very interested in him in order to potentially replace Philippe Coutinho, the winger was closer to the Emirates Stadium.
"It was quite close". "At the same time it was just too late with not enough time to really follow up on the deal and so not all the elements of the puzzle fell into place".
"I'm very happy he stayed with us", he added. For us, we need a player like Thomas Lemar.
"He's very important, we can always count on".
"Definitely next summer will be something to look at, although you know in football there are no guarantees". We had some players who were supposed to leave this summer but didn't leave because of X, Y, Z. "I think it would be fair to say Thomas will have a fair chance to exit next year".
And while Vasilyev says a January deal is unlikely, he admits in football you can "never say never".
Jurgen Klopp's side emerged as a serious contender to sign Lemar late on, making two bids in the final week of the window with the club's medical team reportedly left on standby during that time to travel to Paris to carry out a medical if a deal was struck.