"From the beginning we have worked on two possibilities - Wenger and (Manuel) Pellegrini," Perez said in L'Equipe.
"We have always been attracted by the Frenchman and we talked to him several times.
"He didn't come because he feels very responsible about what has happened and what will happen at Arsenal. He didn't want to abandon the club that he has given such a lot to.
"But as (director general Jorge) Valdano said: 'Pellegrini is the Wenger of Spanish football'."