Charlie Patino was originally set to stay at the Emirates this season but his loan move to Bloomfield Road is already paying off in spectacular fashion.
Had he stayed with Arsenal this season, Charlie Patino would have seen Thursday night’s Europa League clash at PSV as an opportunity to get some minutes.
The teenage midfielder rose to prominence last year when he scored on his senior debut for the Gunners in a Carabao Cup win over Sunderland at the Emirates Stadium in December.
It felt like the moment a new star was born, but Patino would only make one senior appearance in the months that followed, starting in the FA Cup defeat at Nottingham Forest in January.
The rest of the season was a frustrating time for Patino, who struggled with injury issues. He made the first-team bench several times towards the end of the campaign, but the only playing time he got was with the Under-23s.
Thus, the 2022-23 season was always going to be extremely important for the continued development of the Hale End academy graduate.
Initially, the plan was for him to stay at Arsenal; playing with the youth teams, but also looking to get some minutes with the senior team, especially in the Europa League group stage.
However, as the transfer window drew to a close, there was a sudden change in plans. Patino wanted to be loaned out and Arsenal agreed, sending the midfielder to Championship side Blackpool.
Three months later and that bet pays off for all parties. Indeed, to say Patino made an impact at Blackpool would be an understatement.
In just 12 games, the 19-year-old has become Bloomfield Road’s new darling, with his new chant becoming something of a phenomenon – and not just among Blackpool fans, but across social media.
“It was a brilliant start,” said Matt Scrafton of the Blackpool Gazette OBJECTIVE. “I don’t think Charlie could have dreamed it would have gone much better.”
Patino had already made himself a favorite with Blackpool fans ahead of last weekend’s Lancashire derby against Preston.
However, a goal, assist and man of the match award in a 4-2 win ensured the loan Arsenal starlet will forever be remembered as a Seasiders hero no matter what he achieves during the remainder of his time with the Championship club.
“He’s sensational,” Patino’s Blackpool team-mate Jerry Yates said after the game. “He deserves all the credit.
“He’s only young, but the way he took the championship is amazing. He’ll be a top, top player.
Patino’s talent was never in doubt, of course. He has always been highly rated, with the scout who first brought him to Arsenal from Luton describing him as “the best kid I have ever seen”.
But what has perhaps been in question lately is whether he has the physique to cope with the demands of senior football.
Some have suggested it was too small, too light of frame.
These are questions, however, that Patino is now quickly silencing with how he has adapted to the infamous physical championship.
“He’s by far the best player on the team in terms of natural ability,” Scrafton said. “But what impressed me the most is that he has this other side to him.
“When he started here he was only 18. He’s not really muscular, tall or fat, but he can hold up physically.
“He would never have experienced anything like Saturday’s derby before. It was a real battle and he was really impressive.
Patino really deserves the applause he’s getting right now. He made this move.
He wanted more than a weird Europa League appearance this season. He was determined to test himself week after week in senior games that really mattered.
And that’s exactly what he does, shining in Blackpool’s midfield, whether as a more advanced No.8 or in the slightly deeper No.6 role he played in against Preston this weekend.
“The decision to come and play in the Championship was a no-brainer for me,” he said over the weekend.
“Coming to play for three points, coming to play with experienced players, players older than me, faster, stronger.
“Being able to adapt is ultimately what I needed. It is a step in the right direction. »
Arsenal are understandably delighted with the progress Patino has made so far during his time at Blackpool.
Ken Gillard, who works with Arsenal loan manager Ben Knapper, went to see him in action earlier this month and was thrilled with what he saw.
Of course, the only downside is that Patino is now attracting the attention of top clubs across England and abroad.
His current deal expires next summer and while Arsenal have the option to extend that deal for another two years, it must be triggered on a certain date before the end of 2022.
As it stands, talks over a new deal – one that would see Patino rewarded for his progress since signing his first professional contract aged 17 in October 2020 – have yet to begin.
Whether Arsenal will seek to engage in those talks remains to be seen given their performance and the widespread attention they are receiving, but rival clubs continue to monitor developments closely until the situation is resolved. .
For Patino, however, the priority is to keep playing for Blackpool.
The teenager has already made himself a hero with the Seasiders. It is now a question of maintaining this level of performance throughout the season.
And, given how easily he has adapted to life in the Championship so far, that shouldn’t be a problem.