Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta reportedly wanted to sign Houssem Aouar ahead of Thomas Partey during the summer transfer window.
The Gunners were strongly linked with both midfielders for much of the window before finally landing Thomas on deadline day after triggering his £45m release clause.
Arsenal are understood to have seen their opening bid for Lyon's Aouar rejected, and L'Equipe reports that it was the Frenchman who was Arteta's top target.
The Premier League outfit are still thought to hold an interest in Aouar and could return for the midfielder in January, although they are expected to face stiff competition for his signature.
Thomas has played three times for Arsenal since arriving, including his first Premier League start for the club during Sunday's 1-0 home defeat to Leicester City.