Arsenal need to improve their team in January | Football Digest
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta could be ready to unleash one of his academy stars who has been compared to Liverpool midfield maestro Thiago Alcantara as the Spaniard looks set to offload at least two players in January. Reports suggest the Gunners boss may be willing to part ways with Jorginho and Thomas Partey as both players attract interest from elsewhere, with Arteta already lining up Charlie Patino as the youngster to fill the void.
The 20-year-old was farmed out on loan to Championship outfit Blackpool last season and linked up with Swansea for the current campaign. There have already been rave reviews about him in South Wales, with Patino registering four assists and scoring his first goal for the club in a 3-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday.
A red card in the goalless draw with Sunderland for two bookable offences was a slight blot against his name, but the highly-rated youngster has been earmarked for a big future at the Emirates Stadium.
Patino made his debut back in 2021 in the Carabao Cup and scored in a 5-1 thrashing of Sunderland, earning plaudits from Arteta who clearly saw something special in the defensive midfielder. The starlet’s former coach George Dukes was not surprised to see the London Colney graduate make such an impressive introduction after comparing him to Liverpool ace Thiago.
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“The first time I saw Charlie and he came over I knew he was going to have some talent. But the thing that comes to mind with Charlie would be one word and that’s calm,” he said, speaking to ESPN in 2021.
“He’s so relaxed on the ball. When he’s just doing kick-ups, touch work, everything is just so relaxed and calm. That’s the word I’d use 100% for Charlie and people will see that the more he plays. You’ll see how relaxed he is on the ball, you won’t see him panicking or anything like that.
“One player I’d compare him to when I speak to people is Thiago at Liverpool. When he receives the ball it’s really unique and I think Charlie’s got some of that in his game in terms of his calmness and all-around game.”
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With the next Thiago amongst their ranks, Arsenal may choose to give Patino a bigger role in the first-team for 2024-25, as Arteta may look to save some money in this budget by axing two stars.
Jorginho could be heading back to Serie A after five-and-a-half years in England, opening up a spot for Patino.
His contract expires at the end of the end of the season, despite only arriving from Chelsea for £12m back in January, as the 31-year-old only penned an 18-month deal. The deep-lying playmaker has been used more frequently by Arteta of late but his long-term future remains uncertain.
He could reunite with former boss Maurizio Sarri at Lazio after the pair worked together at Napoli and Chelsea. There has also been past interest from Juventus in the Italy international and it appears like a return could be on the cards for the Brazilian-born man.
Likewise, Partey’s position is unclear as clubs from Saudi Arabia continue to target the defensive midfielder. Partey has struggled for fitness and been hampered by injury this season, with the 30-year-old only making four premier League appearances.
Arsenal could be tempted to offload him if a lucrative offer is submitted in January, with Partey no longer considered a regular after Declan Rice was signed this summer. And the emergence of Patino will only further persuade Arteta to back him if he continues on his path towards becoming their very own Thiago.
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