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Arsenal ‘set to trigger two-year Charlie Patino option’

Arsenal ‘set to trigger two-year Charlie Patino option’

Arsenal are reportedly set to activate a two-year extension clause in the contract of highly-rated midfielder Charlie Patino.

The 19-year-old has garnered a reputation as one of the brightest talents in the Hale End academy and has become a fan favourite during this season’s loan spell with Blackpool.

Patino has cemented himself in the first XI for the Tangerines and has made 17 appearances in the Championship, scoring two goals and setting up two more in the process.

The England Under-20 international has started 14 of those second-tier matches and scored on his senior debut for Arsenal in an EFL Cup win over Sunderland last December.

Patino – who also started an FA Cup defeat to Nottingham Forest in January – could leave Arsenal as a free agent at the end of the season, and Barcelona are said to be keeping a close eye on the situation.

Arsenal's Charlie Patino celebrates scoring their fifth goal with Eddie Nketiah and Rob Holding on December 21, 2021© Reuters

As things stand, Patino will be free to discuss a pre-contract agreement with foreign clubs from next month, and it is unclear whether Arsenal have started talks over a new long-term contract.

However, The Athletic claims that the Gunners possess the option to extend the teenager’s deal until 2025, and they are poised to activate that clause in the coming days.

Patino left Luton Town’s academy in 2015 to sign for Arsenal, and he has totalled three goals and five assists in 47 matches at youth level for the Premier League leaders.

The 19-year-old is not the only Arsenal academy product whom the club are facing uncertainty over, as Ethan Nwaneri and Myles Lewis-Skelly are said to be attracting interest from elsewhere.

Nwaneri became the Premier League’s youngest-ever player this season, making his debut in a 3-0 win over Brentford in September aged just 15 years and 181 days.

Ethan Nwaneri in action for Arsenal in September 2022© Reuters

The England youth international also gained more first-team experience in Arsenal’s winter friendlies alongside 16-year-old Lewis-Skelly, who primarily operates as a defensive midfielder.

Lewis-Skelly has already come up with two goals and two assists in six Under-18s matches for the Gunners, as well as scoring two goals and setting up one more in 10 caps for England’s Under-17s.

As well as the three academy starlets, Arsenal chiefs are working to agree new long-term deals with all of Gabriel Martinelli, William Saliba and Bukayo Saka, while Aaron Ramsdale is also said to be in talks over improved terms.

Martinelli has insisted that he “just needs to get a pen” and wants to remain in North London beyond 2024, and Mikel Arteta is confident that fresh terms can be agreed with Saka too.

However, talks with Saliba are reportedly yet to progress, as the centre-back’s agents are not satisfied with the wages that Arsenal have currently put on the table.

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