Charlie Patino’s contract runs out in the summer.
Whilst Arsenal have an option to extend his current deal by a year, that will only be to secure a big transfer fee this summer if he doesn’t sign a new long-term contract.
Like the rest of us, I am sure Patino would have been watching the World Cup whilst regular football took a break. He would have failed to notice the performances of 3 former team mates.
And the performances of Jude Bellingham, Jamal Musiala and Yunus Musah may have been enough to encourage the Arsenal youngster to seek a move abroad.
Patino played in the England youth set ups from U15 level to U19 with Bellingham and Musiala. Whilst he played for both club and country with Musah.
In 2020, all Bellingham, Musiala and Musah decided their future was abroad.
Musiala joined Bayern Munich, Bellingham Dortmund and Musah went to Valencia. Patino opted to stay at Arsenal.
Since then, all 3 have established themselves as first team regulars for their new clubs, and all won over 20 caps for their countries. The trio have had now had their breakthrough international tournament.
Meanwhile, Patino is on loan Blackpool and doesn’t look close to becoming a first team regular for Arsenal (let alone England).
Next season, you would expect him to become a full member of the Arsenal first team squad. But he plays in a position where Arsenal have a lot of competition.
In his natural “8” position, we have Granit Xhakaand Martin Odegaard. Backing them up we then have Fabio Vieira, Albert Sambi Lokonga and Emile Smith Rowe.
That “4th choice” place could be free’d up if Arsenal decide to cash in on Smith Rowe due to his injuries. The future of Lokonga will also be evaluated in the summer.
Even if both of those depart, Patino would still have 3 ahead of him. And maybe even 4 if you consider Bukayo Saka has also played more centrally for Arsenal in the past.
4th choice at Arsenal, aged 19, is not a bad place to be. But Patino has seen his former team mates becomeg regulars for top clubs in top leagues, and starting for their countries in Qatar. It is only natural that he might decide his best chance of regular football is away from Arsenal.
Next summer, expect a bidding war for Bellingham. Liverpool and Manchester City seem his most likely suitors in a deal that could break the record for most expensive English footballer.
The feeling is whoever misses out on him might turn their eyes towards Musah – and Arsenal have recently been linked with a big money move for their former trainee.
That could see Bellingham, Musah and Musiala as first team regulars at some of Europe’s elite. Meanwhile Patino would be a bench warmer at Arsenal.
If Bellingham does leave Dortmund, I would not be surprised if they target Patino as his “like for like” replacement.
We have seen Dortmund do this before. They are a great option for talented youngsters that need game time.
Replace Bellingham at Dortmund, get the senior game time you need, then in 2-3 years time get the big money move to a top, top club.
Ousmane Dembele, Jadon Sancho, and Erling Haaland are the 3 big stars to have followed that path. Bellingham soon to join them.
Arsenal will struggle to keep Patino if he is being offered first team football by a Dortmund (or Valencia).
Of course, moving to Dortmund – or elsewhere – will not guarantee Patino becomes a star.
Karim Adeyemi and Donyell Malen have both been poor this season, whilst highly rated Mahmoud Dahoud and Emre Mor failed to fulfil their potential. Alexander Isak another who struggled in Germany.
Dortmund do tend to “buy 3 or 4” when “selling one” in the hope one of those 3 or 4 becomes the next star. The others dissapear without a trace.
There are also plenty of warnings from former Arsenal players.
Marcus McGuane and Stephy Mavididi are the two that come to mind as talented youngsters whose move did not go as planned. Although they perhaps makde the mistake of joining Barcelona and Juventus respectively, and ending up in the same situation as they were at Arsenal.
If you are a young kid looking to kick start your senior career in England, you need to be looking at the Dortmund’s and Valencia’s of this world. side in the next tier who can give you the senior game time.
I do not want Patino to leave. I think he is a talent and can hopefully see come career progression with Arsenal.
A year as understudy to Granit Xhaka, and then in a seasons time the Swiss man would be 32. How much longer would he be able to continue playing at the highest level?
You would probably then have a season of Xhaka and Patino being rotated in and out, before Patino becomes first choice come 2025.
Patino will be just 21 come the start of the 2025/26 season.
Whilst he has no need to rush his career, by 2025 his former team mates would have been first team regulars for 4 seasons, and be closing in on 50 caps for their country. There would be a feeling that he has been left behind.
I do not want Patino to leave. But it he is at that crossroads in his career and seeing others his age performing so well on the world stage could be what pushes him to depart.