Arsenal midfielder Charlie Patino has signed his first professional contract with the club.
Patino, who turned 17 last weekend, joined Arsenal as a schoolboy from Luton Town and is widely seen as one of the Gunners’ standout prospects.
A superb passer, he established himself as a regular for the U18s last season while he was still a schoolboy and has continued to feature heavily at that level this campaign. A debut for the U23s this season seems very likely for the England youth international.
Patino, who has also trained with the first-team on several occasions, becomes the latest member of the current intake of scholars to sign professional terms after Marcelo Flores and Zane Monlouis.
Arsenal have submitted their Premier League squad for the first half of the season, with Mesut Ozil and Sokratis the two senior players left out.
Konstantinos Mavropanos, Lucas Torreira, Deyan Iliev, Ben Sheaf and Jordi Osei-Tutu, who are all classed as senior players and are out on loan, have also been omitted from the squad.
All of the other full-time players on Arsenal’s books have been included, including recent signings Nikolaj Moller and Joel Ideho.
As Arsenal only have five homegrown senior players – Hector Bellerin, Calum Chambers, Rob Holding, Matt Macey and Ainsley Maitland-Niles – their overall senior squad size is reduced to 22 players.
There are 62 players on Arsenal’s Under-21 list, including first-team players Matteo Guendouzi (who is out on loan), Reiss Nelson, Eddie Nketiah, Bukayo Saka, William Saliba, Emile Smith Rowe, Gabriel Martinelli and Joe Willock.
All of the new scholars have been included in the Premier League squad for the first time, with Under-21 players who are out on loan also named.
25 Squad players (*Home grown)
Alves Soares, Cedric Ricardo Aubameyang, Pierre-Emerick Bellerin, Hector* Borges Da Silva, Willian Ceballos Fernandez, Daniel Chambers, Calum* Dos Santos Magalhaes, Gabriel Elneny, Mohamed Naser Elsayed Holding, Robert Samuel* Kolasinac, Sead Lacazette, Alexandre Leno, Bernd Macey, Matthew Ryan* Maitland-Niles, Ainsley* Mari Villar, Pablo Moreira Marinho, David Luiz Mustafi, Shkodran Partey, Thomas Teye Pepe, Nicolas Runarsson, Runar Alex Tierney, Kieran Xhaka, Granit
U21 players (Contract and Scholars)
Adamo Gaspar, Luigi Akinola, Timothy Olaoluwa Alebiosu, Ryan Awe, Zachariah Olumide Ebunoluwa Azeez, Miguel Ballard, Daniel George Balogun, Folarin Jerry Bola, Tolaji Butler-Oyedeji, Nathan Jerome Chatoyer Cirjan, Catalin-Ionut Clarke, Harrison Thomas Cottrell, Ben Coyle, Trae Dinzeyi, Jonathan Edwards, Khayon Ejeheri, Ovie Prince Flores, Marcelo Foran, Taylor Giraud-Hutchinson, Omari Elijah Gomes Bandeira, Mauro Graczyk, Hubert Guendouzi, Matteo Hein, Karl Jakob Henry-Francis, Jack Hillson, James Andrew Ideho, Joel Igaba-Ishimwe, George Lewis Jeffcott, Henry John-Jules, Tyreece Romayo Kirk, Alexander Michael Laing, Levi Alexander Lannin-Sweet, James Lopez Salguero, Joel McEneff, Jordan John McGuinness, Mark James Medley, Zechariah Joshua Henry Mitchell, Remy Moller, Nikolaj Duus Monlouis, Zane Nelson, Reiss Nketiah, Edward Keddar Norton-Cuffy, Brooke Dion Nelson Ogungbo, Mazeed Okonkwo, Arthur Olayinka, Olujimi James Ayodele Olowu, Joseph Olugbenga Oulad M’Hand, Zine-Eddine Oyegoke, Daniel Oladele Akinbiyi Patino, Charlie Michael Plange, Luke Elliot Sagoe Jr, Charles Kwame Saka, Bukayo Saliba, William Smith, Matthew Gerrard Smith, Tom Smith Rowe, Emile Sraha, Jason Robert Osei Swanson, Zak Taylor-Hart, Kido Teodoro Martinelli Silva, Gabriel Vigar, Billy Joseph Willock, Joseph George
Here’s an assessment of which prospects are most likely to feature in the competition this season.
With regards to first-team players, Bukayo Saka has impressed to such an extent that he may even be rested for some of the Europa League group games.
Eddie Nketiah is often called upon as a substitute in the Premier League and will hope to start the majority of the club’s games in Europe.
For Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock, who have been on the periphery of proceedings so far this campaign, the Europa League will be vital for them to make an impression as they look to convince Mikel Arteta that they deserve further playing time.
Emile Smith Rowe, meanwhile, is continuing to work his way back to full fitness following injury and will hope to receive some run-outs.
Now comes the interesting part, with a host of U23 players hoping that they can feature in the competition.
It is worth noting that clubs are now permitted to make five substitutions per game and name 12 players on the bench, which boosts the chances of U23 players being involved.
Arsenal have a large first-team squad, but four senior players – Sokratis, Mesut Ozil, Gabriel Martinelli and William Saliba – have been left out of the Europa League squad for the group stages.
In addition, the likes of Calum Chambers and Pablo Mari are still working their way back to full fitness following injury, so opportunities could open up for others.
Goalkeepers Karl Hein, James Hillson and Arthur Okonkwo are all eligible to feature. However, with Bernd Leno, Alex Runarsson and Matt Macey ahead of them, it seems unlikely that any of the young shot-stoppers will be called up unless there is something of an injury crisis.
Left-back Joel Lopez is still finding his feet in the U23s and is just back from injury, but it isn’t beyond the realms of possibility that he could make the bench at some stage.
Ryan Alebiosu, meanwhile, has shown that he can play as a right-back or a winger. It is perhaps a little early for him to be heavily involved with the first-team but his hard-working nature could endear him to Arteta.
Ben Cottrell appears to be the U23 player in with the best chance of making his debut in this competition. The creative midfielder is also capable of filling in on the left side of the defence and could be used at some point, especially if Arsenal qualify for the knockout stages with games to spare.
Another midfielder who many people will be eager to see involved is Miguel Azeez. The England youth international is still establishing himself in the U23s and must improve the defensive side of his game, but his quality, and in particular his passing range, is undeniable, and it would not be a surprise if he was to get a call up.
Then there is Folarin Balogun to consider. Under normal circumstances it would appear a near-certainty that the striker would make his competitive debut in this competition, but he has yet to commit his future to the club.
Despite his contractual situation, though, Balogun has started to train with the first-team more regularly in recent weeks, so he could be involved, although he finds himself behind three senior strikers in the pecking order.
Jordan McEneff has also been included. Despite being one of the older players in the U23 squad he isn’t guaranteed a starting berth for Steve Bould’s side. He still has a chance of getting on the bench for the first-team as the campaign progresses, especially given that he can play in midfield or out wide.
In summary, Cottrell seems the most likely to feature out of the U23 players, with Azeez also having a good chance of making his debut. Balogun, Lopez, Alebiosu and McEneff will also hope for chances.
It does have to be taken into consideration, however, that Saka (who was subsequently quickly promoted) is the only player from the U23 squad that Arteta has played in a competitive game so far. Arteta has named the likes of Matt Smith, Zech Medley and Tyreece John-Jules on the bench for competitive games but they didn’t come on.
With Arsenal facing a packed schedule, Arteta may eventually elect to give some youngsters an opportunity, and it will be intriguing to see what transpires.
Arsenal have submitted their B-List for the Europa League group stages, with Miguel Azeez amongst the youngsters included.
To be named on the B-List players must have been born after January 1st, 1999, and have to have played for Arsenal for at least two years.
Bukayo Saka, Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock, Eddie Nketiah and Emile Smith Rowe, who are all part of the first-team squad, have been included.
U23 players Ryan Alebiosu and Karl Hein (who are included for the first time), Folarin Balogun, Ben Cottrell, Joel Lopez, Jordan McEneff, Arthur Okonkwo, Tom Smith and Azeez have also been named.
Harry Clarke has also been included but will soon be removed after he joined Oldham Athletic on loan.
Goalkeeper James Hillson was included on the A-List as one of Arsenal’s homegrown players
Arsenal’s Europa League B-List
William Saliba, George Lewis, Tim Akinola, Jonathan Dinzeyi, Catalin Cirjan, Salah-Eddine, Marcelo Flores, Joel Ideho and Nikolaj Moller couldn’t be included as they have not been at the club for two years.
Charlie Patino, who turned 17 at the weekend, is expected to sign professional terms soon, and will subsequently be added to the squad.
Any other player who signs professional terms and has been at the club for two years can be added as the season progresses. Players who are currently eligible for a professional deal but haven’t yet signed one include: Nathan Butler-Oyedeji, Ovie Ejeheri, Hubert Graczyk, Alex Kirk, Levi Laing, Mazeed Ogungbo, Daniel Oyegoke, Luke Plange, Jason Sraha, Kido Taylor-Hart, Khayon Edwards, Taylor Foran, Jack Henry-Francis, Zane Monlouis and James Lannin-Sweet.
To recap, Arsenal’s A-List for the competition is as follows
Lucas Torreira made his debut for Atletico Madrid, playing the entirety of their 2-0 win against Celta Vigo.
Tolaji Bola made his debut for Rochdale, and in turn his first competitive senior appearance, as his loan side lost 3-0 to Hull City.
Deyan Iliev made his debut for Shrewsbury Town and kept a clean sheet in a 1-0 win away to AFC Wimbledon.
Zech Medley played the full game as Gillingham lost 2-0 to MK Dons. Trae Coyle was brought on in the 67th minute.
Jordi Osei-Tutu started Cardiff City’s 1-0 win against Preston North End but went off in the 77th minute due to injury.
Joseph Olowu played the full game and was booked as Cork City drew 0-0 with Waterford.
Ben Sheaf played the entire game and was booked as Coventry City lost 2-0 to Brentford.
Matt Smith played the full game and was booked as Swindon Town lost 2-0 to Sunderland.
Daniel Ballard was an unused substitute as Blackpool drew 1-1 with Crewe Alexandra.
Mark McGuinness was an unused substitute as Ipswich Town beat Accrington Stanley 2-0.
Zak Swanson was an unused substitute as MVV Maastricht lost 2-0 to Excelsior.
Matteo Guendouzi didn’t feature for Hertha Berlin against Stuttgart as he tested positive for coronavirus. Konstantinos Mavropanos wasn’t in action for Stuttgart due to an injury that could keep him out for several weeks.
Tyreece John-Jules was absent due to injury as Doncaster Rovers won 1-0 against Portsmouth.
Harry Clarke and James Olayinka weren’t involved for Oldham Athletic and Southend United respectively as their deals were concluded late on transfer deadline day.
Arsenal 0 Brighton & Hove Albion 5 (Laing 24 (o.g.), Peupion 44 (pen), 90, Miller 45, Moran 60)
Arsenal U18s suffered a disappointing 5-0 defeat at home to Brighton & Hove Albion today.
Despite the quality that they possess in a creative sense, Ken Gillard’s side have struggled defensively and that was certainly the case again today.
Catalin Cirjan was promoted to the U23s in the summer but, having not featured as prominently as he would have hoped for at that level, he found himself back in the U18 side for this game. It is somewhat strange that the club are continuing to deploy him on the right wing when he has previously caught the eye as an attacking midfielder.
Arsenal found themselves a goal down after 24 minutes when Levi Laing inadvertently directed the ball into his own net.
The young Gunners then lost Mazeed Ogungbo, who was operating at left-back, to injury, with Zach Awe, who is normally a centre-back, replacing him, thus unbalancing the team a little.
Brighton added two further goals before half-time. Firstly Cameron Peupion scored from the penalty spot and then Todd Miller made it 3-0.
Arsenal brought on Mauro Bandeira for Omari Hutchinson at the start of the second half, but Brighton remained in control, with Andrew Moran scoring their fourth goal of the game.
Luke Plange replaced Kido Taylor-Hart in the 82nd minute but there was still time for Brighton to score a fifth goal as Peupion got on the scoresheet again.
Arsenal have now taken six points out of a possible 15 so far this season and will hope to respond when they face West Bromwich Albion away next weekend.