Wonderkid Charlie Patino set to make Arsenal debut

Charlie Patino, Arsenal

Arsenal wonderkid Charlie Patino could make his professional debut on Wednesday evening in the Carabao Cup third round.

The youngster has already shown signs of becoming a top player, both in training and in youth team matches, and as such the prospect of a first-team appearance has been on the cards.

PROFILE: WHO IS CHARLIE PATINO?

So, this fixture, against League One side AFC Wimbledon, provides an ideal opportunity for manager Mikel Arteta to try out the 17-year-old in what should be a comfortable game for the Gunners.

He will be looking to follow in the footsteps of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith-Rowe who have broken into Arsenal's lineup under Arteta.

Patino's ability

Patino is far from the finished article, but already has some of the key attributes needed to become an exceptional deep-lying playmaker.

With a cultured left foot, the youngster operates in central areas with superb technical prowess, similar to that of former player Jack Wilshere.

“Charlie has an amazing awareness of where he is on the pitch and where other players are on the pitch,” Arsenal scout Brian Stapleton told Goal.

“Of all the years I’ve been scouting, he’s the best kid I’ve ever seen.

“His vision is so good, he can split a defence with a pass. And he has that desire to do well. When he’s on that pitch he can be an animal, he’s a winner.”

The central midfielder switched Luton Town for Arsenal in 2015, and has played above his age group ever since, signing his first professional contract at 17.

Now, the Gunners are understandably desperate to tie him down to a new long-term contract, once he turns 18, to see off interest from a number of English clubs as well as one of La Liga's giants.

Indeed, Barcelona have maintained an interest in Patino, hoping that his father's Spanish nationality could play a factor, but it appears he is settled in north London.

And perhaps an inclusion in tonight's team from the start or as a substitute could be the deciding factor in talks of extending his stay at the club.