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Arsenal chief reporter revealed 18-year-old youngster could play more games than injury-prone Thomas Partey next season

Arsenal journalist Charles Watts has revealed that 18-year-old Charlie Patino could feature a lot more for the north London outfit in cup competitions next season after rumours of a loan were quashed.

The Gunners’ hopes of signing big-name players in this summer’s transfer market may have taken a big hit after failing to cement themselves a place in the Champions League at the end of the most recent season. However, they did qualify for the Europa League, which has opened up the opportunity for younger players to get more first-team football in the second-string European competition.

One of these players on the fringe of the first team is academy graduate Patino, who appeared on the scene this past season with two cup appearances in the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup for the senior side, scoring in the latter. It now appears that he could be in line for more first-team football as there is no point in him playing a lot of minutes for the under-23s anymore, according to Watts, who shared the information on his YouTube channel this week.

He said: “Last time I spoke to someone who’s very close to the Patino situation, they weren’t expecting him to go out on loan this season. I thought that might happen given maybe the lack of opportunities he would get, but now that it’s Europa League and not Champions League, you’ve got the opportunity there to give Patino minutes.

“Because that’s what he needs now, there’s no point playing him in under-23s football, certainly not regularly. He needs to start getting some senior football. That’s why I thought maybe he might go out on loan, but it seems like he is going to be more integrated into the first-team squad next season and will get minutes in the Europa League and the cup competitions as well.”

TIF Thoughts on Watts’ comments…

As previously mentioned, Arsenal will struggle to attract the same players they were targeting when they had Champions League aspirations, so now they will need to use even more youth than they did in 2021/22.

It will be a great chance for Patino to prove what he can do in the highest level of professional football.

Arsenal fans should be excited to see what he can do after he was praised tremendously by Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand, who said to BT Sport (via Metro): “Go on YouTube and watch his clips. It’s a joke what you see, the talent he’s got… I’ve spoken to people at Arsenal and what they say about him in terms of this kid, talent-wise, could potentially be the best of the lot that’s come out in recent years. It’s a huge bar, but this kid has the talent and the big, big part of him is his mentality.”

The youngster made 15 appearances for the Under-23s in the Premier League 2 division, in which the side only lost three games and won six in the 12 starts where he played 90 minutes. There is a lot of excitement around Patino, and we will all see what he is capable of next season.

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