Arsenal have been told that 17-year-old midfielder Charlie Patino could eventually be their finest academy graduate in recent years, with scout Sean O’Connor tipping the youngster to emulate Phil Foden’s meteoric rise to prominence at Manchester City. The Gunners have a long and storied history of nurturing talented young players, with Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka the latest stars to roll off the Hale End production line.
Eddie Nketiah, Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock also learned their respective trades in Arsenal’s youth ranks before going on to become fully-fledged senior players.
Patino, who is eligible to represent England or Spain, is widely believed to be next in line after turning plenty of heads at under-18 level.
He even broke into Arsenal’s under-23 side earlier this year, scoring his first goal against Chelsea in the Premier League 2 back in February.
While Patino is yet to make his first-team debut for the Gunners, senior scout O’Connor is said to hold the teenager in the highest possible regard.
Fellow Arsenal talent-spotter Brian Stapleton, who discovered Patino during the midfielder’s time with Luton Town, is also a huge admirer.
The former has suggested that Arsenal may be looking to bypass a future loan move in order to fast-track the youngster into their first-team setup.
Stapleton also underlined O’Connor’s glowing assessment of Patino by drawing similarities between the Gunners starlet and Foden.
“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,” Stapleton told Goal.
“The kid has got so much potential, but he’s not there yet. There is a pathway that Arsenal have got for him and he’s probably going down the same pathway as Phil Foden at Manchester City.
“Charlie has an amazing awareness of where he is on the pitch and where other players are on the pitch. His vision is so good, he can split a defence with a pass.
“And he has that desire to do well. When he’s on that pitch he can be an animal, he’s a winner.”
Patino has already made a number of appearances for England at youth international level, featuring alongside the likes of Jude Bellingham, Jamal Musiala and Harvey Elliott for the Young Lions.
He played three years up at Luton before his move to Arsenal, who reportedly paid the Hatters around £10,000 in compensation back in 2015.
The midfielder has already trained with Mikel Arteta’s first-team squad and is said to be rated highly by the Spaniard.
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Patino was handed his first professional contract last year in a clear show of Arsenal’s faith in his potential to succeed at the Emirates Stadium.
He previously described himself as a forward-thinking playmaker with the ability to sit deep when required in order to ease the transition between defence and attack.
“My favourite position on the pitch is central midfield, more of a creative midfielder,” Patino told Football Talent Scout last year.
“I can also play deeper starting the play from the back, as a [number] four or six, dictating the tempo of the game and building the attack.”