Charlie Patino has only made two senior appearances for Arsenal, but already has scores of supporters waxing lyrical over his prospective future at the club, with some even likening him to Cesc Fabregas.
He certainly fits the ‘Fabregas’ mould at the north London outfit – with a prospective Spanish international career even possible as his father holds a Spanish passport – and he could follow the esteemed playmaker’s path to the first team from the academy.
This may seem like a bold claim, but former Gunners scout Brain Stapleton hailed the precocious youth as one of the very best out there, saying: “Of all the years I’ve been scouting, he’s the very best I’ve seen.”
Currently on loan at Championship outfit Blackpool, Patino has impressed with numerous displays hinting at a successful future career in England’s top-flight.
The 19-year-old has started nine of Blackpool’s 12 league matches this term, scoring twice and providing one assist, and could certainly slot into Arsenal’s senior squad at the expense of peripheral figures such as Mohamed Elneny or Albert Sambi Lokonga.
This, of course, would largely be down to his ability on the biggest stage, although he has already displayed his capabilities amongst Arsenal’s senior squad having netted a wondrous strike last season during a ten-minute cameo against Sunderland in the Carabao Cup.
The Gunners’ current standing could actually aid Patino’s potential integration into the team, with a mesh of experience and youth providing the perfect blueprint to softly work his way up the pecking order.
However, another year out on loan could be a shrewd move for a player with all the ability needed for a successful top-flight career.
The talented youngster, rated at just £3.15m at present, will likely see his market value continue to blossom as he continues to stake his claim for a regular starting spot at Blackpool.
Blackpool sit 15th in the second tier after 17 games played and appear to be more than comfortable, with just one loss across the past six outings.
During this period, Patino put in his standout showing of the term thus far, bagging a goal and an assist as his side demolished Preston North End 4-2 in the West Lancashire derby.
SofaScore rated Patino’s display 8.1/10, a vital cog in the midfield engine during a historic win for the Tangerines.
Blackpool forward Jerry Yates, who scored twice in the victory and earned the man of the match performance, could not stop singing the young loanee’s praises, saying he was “sensational” after such a mature and dominant display in a crucial fixture.
He followed up a magnificent afternoon with another assured performance against Coventry City, earning a 7.4/10 and ostensibly falling into the desired pattern at the heart of his team.
The left-footed dynamo certainly wields an impressive and varied arsenal, offering 0.5 shots, 1.6 tackles and 1.4 interceptions per outing, with his output certain to only grow further as his football development blossoms.
It’s perhaps little surprise to learn that the 19-year-old, who the club’s former head of recruitment Steve Morrow dubbed a “special talent“, has looked up to the aforementioned Fabregas, as well as the Gunners’ other former Spaniards in Santi Cazorla and current first-team boss Mikel Arteta.
There is work to be done, but Patino is a gifted and elegant player who may just have a future at Arsenal one day, whether that’s next season, or the one after, remains to be seen, but the increments already in his professional career allude to a prosperous peak indeed.