Arsenal have officially triggered their option clause in Charlie Patino’s contract, extending the youngster’s deal through 2025, according to Charles Watts. The option keeps him on his current wages, so the club and his representatives will now set their sights to hammering out a new, long-term deal with a pay rise. Patino made his senior Arsenal debut on December 21st, 2021 as a late substitute in a 5-1 EFL Cup rout of Sunderland and scored the fifth goal of the match in front of the Emirates faithful.
Patino is currently on loan to Blackpool in the Championship, who sit 22nd in the table, in midst of the relegation battle. He has appeared in 17 of 23 matches, only missing out through an early season ankle injury, and has tallied 2 goals and 2 assists. He’s having a solid season — a few man of the match performances and some impressive highlights — but has also, at times, shown his youth and inexperience.
That’s what a loan is for, right? He’s playing a bunch, developing, and will hopefully be ready to be a cup contributor next season or perhaps go on loan in the Premier League.
Activating that contract option is a no-brained. Patino is a Hale End product and comes with exceedingly high praise and expectations. Several Arsenal scouts said he’s the best young player they’ve ever seen, and he was named to The Guardian’s “Next Generation” list in 2020. His playing style has drawn comparisons to Frenkie De Jong, too. So no pressure, kid.
As Arsenal rejoin the ranks of Champions League contenders, it’s critically important that Hale End continue to produce talents like Patino. Developing stars like Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe and solid contributors like Eddie Nketiah is much cheaper than buying all your players in the transfer market. It seems like Patino is next in line to join that bunch, and even if he doesn’t live up to expectations, he’ll likely have value to a mid- to lower-level Premier League club as a skilled, homegrown player and net a decent transfer fee.
But I think Patino will pan out and we’ll be watching him in an Arsenal kit for years to come.