City-rivals Tottenham Hotspur had also scouted the Serie A midfielder earlier this summer.
Arsenal would have signed highly rated Lazio midfield player Hernanes had Real Madrid not made Mesut Ozil available to buy this summer, according to reports in the Daily Express.
The north London club did eventually land the coveted Germany international in a club-record deal worth a whopping £42.4 million in the final hours on transfer deadline day, with the playmaker agreeing a bumper five-year deal with the Gunners worth a staggering £200,000 per week.
However, before it became apparent that los Blancos were willing to allow Ozil to depart the Santiago Bernabeu in the final few days before the summer transfer window slammed shut for business on Sept 2, Gunners head coach Arsene Wenger had been preparing a big-money move for Lazio’s attacking midfield player.
The Brazil international, who has a contract with the Serie A giants that runs until June 30 2015, has been one of the most impressive goalscoring midfield players in the Italian top division over the past three seasons, with Wenger known to be on the look-out for such a player in this campaign.
In total, the 28-year-old has managed to find the back of the net on 37 occasions in just 132 appearances in all competitions for the Romans since moving to the Italian capital three years ago, and it is expected that Hernanes would have cost Arsenal £20m to purchase.