Arsenal have made strides to prevent Barcelona poaching academy graduate Charlie Patino with reports that they are set to trigger a two-year extension in his Gunners contract, according to The Athletic.
The Blaugrana have previously shown interest in the midfield youngster, but Arsenal are determined to keep hold of their young gem.
The Gunners are expected to extend his contract to ward off any potential suitors, but according to the Daily Mail, formal talks over a new, long-term deal are yet to begin.
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Patino is one of several players that Arsenal are keen to tie down to prolonged contracts, however, with extended terms for William Saliba, Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka also on the Gunners’ to-do list.
Links to Barcelona have been heightened by the fact that Patino owns a Spanish passport because of his father, but Arsenal want to dampen these rumours by extending his contract at the club.
The loss of Omari Hutchinson to Chelsea in the summer has prompted Arsenal into action, as they won’t want to lose another exciting young prospect before they’ve had a chance to impress in the senior set-up.
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Arteta’s side are currently in the market for a new central midfielder, which could potentially complicate things for Patino’s future. Youri Tielemans, Alexis Mac Allister and Adrien Rabiot are the three names reportedly on their shortlist, with the Gunners boss keen to add depth in the middle of the park.
How good is Patino?
Patino, 19, has scored twice and grabbed two assists in 17 Championship appearances on loan at Blackpool this season, where he has become something of a cult hero.
The midfielder scored on his senior Arsenal debut last season, netting their fifth goal in a 5-1 Carabao Cup win over Sunderland after coming on in the 80th minute.
He has made two senior appearances for Arsenal so far, with the other coming against Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup later in the 2021/22 campaign.