Arsenal watched new signing Bacary Sagna over 40 times before making their move, according to Gilles Grimandi.
Sagna was born in France to Senegalese parents
"We have been following Bacary for a long time," former Gunners defender and club scout Grimandi told BBC Sport."
"He is very well known in France and we first noticed him three years ago - we've been very impressed by him."
Like fellow Frenchman Grimandi, 24-year-old Sagna can play in a number of positions - at right-back, in the centre of defence or in midfield.
Last year he was picked for the team of the season in France
Arsenal scout Gilles Grimandi
Sagna is manager Arsene Wenger's third major summer signing following the arrivals of goalkeeper Lukas Fabianski and striker Eduardo da Silva.
And while he may not be a high-profile name in England, Grimandi says Arsenal have seen real pedigree in the player whilst scouting him.
"Last year he was picked for the team of the season in France, which chooses the best players in Ligue One," he added.
"Although he hasn't won a full international cap, he has played for the French Under-21 side.
"We've watched him both playing for Auxerre and the Under-21 team and scouted him over more than 40 games."
Grimandi, who has been linked with the vacant technical director role at the Emirates Stadium, was one of Wenger's first signings when he took over at Arsenal in 1996, joining from Monaco in June 1997 for £2.5m.
The Frenchman played 84 matches for Arsenal, winning the Double twice in 1998 and 2002.
Since his retirement in 2003, after a brief spell at Colorado Rapids in the United States, he has been working as a Gunners scout.