Breaking: Mario Leminar is a Gunner – £18million seals deal

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Arsene Wenger has proved he remains in control of Arsenal’s transfer policy after rejecting recommendations from within the club to sign Juventus midfielder Mario Lemina.

Lemina has passed a medical at Southampton and is set to complete an £18million move before the Premier League kicks off this weekend.

Stoke and Watford had registered an interest in Lemina but Arsenal were first to identify the 23-year-old as a possible target at the end of last season.

The Gunners place great importance in a performance comparison matrix system to help plan their transfer strategy ever since introducing it in 2012 and Standard Sport understands this analytical data threw up Lemina as a player to help strengthen the first-team squad.

The club’s principal transfer negotiator, Dick Law, had mentioned Lemina’s name in conversation with agents earlier this summer in a bid to begin exploring a deal but it is believed that opinion was soon divided over whether to pursue a player who had made just eight starts in Serie A last season and was relatively unproven.

Wenger’s future as manager was yet to be finalised at that stage and he only signed a new two-year contract after Arsenal beat Chelsea to win their third FA Cup in four years.

Chief executive Ivan Gazidis had originally wanted to appoint a director of football to influence transfer policy but Wenger strongly rejected any compromise in his authority in this area and instead agreed to a number of appointments to his backroom staff including fitness coach Darren Burgess and legal expert Huss Fahmy.


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