The Borussia Dortmund defender is braced to sign a contract at the Gunners on Tuesday after undergoing his medical.
But competition for his signature was rife and new Gunners boss Unai Emery has already got one over Jose Mourinho.
Speaking to a Greek radio show, the 29-year-old's father Charalambos said: "There was interest from United but he had to wait until July for them.
"United have a very good relationship with Dortmund, the teams were talking more closely.
"He chose to go to Arsenal instead."
He also revealed that the player is already in London to complete the move.
He added: "He is happy. He is in England at the moment and everything will go well."
The Greek international has been at Dortmund since joining from Werder Bremen in 2013.
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During that period he has played 198 times for the Yellow and Black and won the DFB Cup and lifted the Super Cup twice.
Arsenal's new head of recruitment Sven Mislintat, who joined from Dortmund, wants to overhaul the defence with as many as four new defenders targeted.
Out of contract Juventus full-back Stephan Lichtsteiner is also on the verge of completing his move to North London.
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