Arsenal’s huge investment into revolutionalising their Hale End academy set-up is starting to pay serious dividends and for many of their up-and-coming prospects, the pathway into the first-team has never been better.
And that’s because manager Mikel Arteta dishes out regular opportunities to those that impress him in the youth system.
For a long time, the likes of Cesc Fabregas and Jack Wilshere were the only success stories from within but under the Spaniard, who has even donned the Gunners shirt himself, we’re seeing more and more homegrown players make the cut.
Both Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe are now a crucial part of Arteta’s senior squad – but who is likely to follow in their footsteps? We’ve seen plenty of names be given game time throughout pre-season thus far, including Jack Henry-Francis and Omari Hutchinson.
Will Charlie Patino be the next academy success at Arsenal?
However, Arsenal may have their next Smith Rowe already lying in wait.
“Of all the years I’ve been scouting, he’s the best kid I’ve ever seen,” is how Gunners talent-spotter Brian Stapleton describes 17-year-old gem Charlie Patino to Goal.com.
Despite not turning 18 until September, Patino is expected to play a major role for Arsenal’s U23 side as a left-footed midfielder primarily operating as a no.8.
Although, his future could lie in that advanced midfield role, according to Nick Ames in the Guardian.
It’s also believed that there is a plan in place for him to become part of the senior set-up in due course, rather than sending him out on loan, which only speaks volumes on his ability and potentially how highly Arteta rates him.
“It was clear Charlie was a special talent,” claimed former head of recruitment Steve Morrow.
Patino even cites Arteta as a player he looked up to as a child, alongside fellow Spaniards Santi Cazorla and the aforementioned Fabregas.
“Sean O’Connor discovered Jack Wilshere and he said to me that Charlie is the best player who has ever walked through the doors at Hale End,” added Stapleton. “The kid has got so much potential, but he’s not there yet.”
We’ve seen how quickly someone like Smith Rowe has established himself in North London. He was only on loan to Championship outfit Huddersfield Town in 2020 and now he’s donning the famous no.10 shirt, having signed a five-year contract extension.
Patino certainly looks like he could be the next big thing to emerge from the impressive Hale End academy. The 17-year-old can make great strides this season.