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Liverpool can sign the ‘next Thiago Alcântara’ who has made Mikel Arteta ‘really happy’

It was the kind of moment Charlie Patino has been dreaming about since he joined Arsenal at 12 years of age.

In front of an almost 60,000 strong Emirates crowd, Patino finally got to grace the turf against Sunderland in the quarter-final of the League Cup, for the first time in Arsenal colours at senior level.

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But making your debut is one thing.

A few minutes later, Patino raced onto a pass by Nicolas Pépé inside Sunderland’s penalty area and slotted the ball into the back of the net with a deft first-time finish.

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Brimming with joy, the 18-year-old raced off to celebrate in front of the corner flag, sliding along the turf — much to the glee of Arsenal boss, Mikel Arteta.

Speaking after the game, Arteta was impressed by Patino.

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“Charlie is with us more and more in training sessions. Tuesday was his first competitive match, which was a beautiful day for him and everybody involved in the club.

“We’ll go slowly from there. If we need him, we will use him if the numbers are quiet but we have to throw him in there when we believe he’s ready.

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“He’s making the right steps and we’re really happy with where we are.”

Patino is regarded highly in world football. He was linked with a move to Barcelona earlier this year, and was voted in The Guardian’s 20 best talents to watch in 2020. He is still yet to sign a long-term contract with Arsenal, and for those reasons Liverpool should keep the teenager on their radar.

Jürgen Klopp could do with adding extra reinforcement to his midfield, especially a young midfielder to rejuvenate the squad. Most of the players at his disposal are at or nearing thirty years of age, and pretty much all of the options have a patchy recent injury track record.

Patino could be an ideal profile, given his technical prowess and exciting potential as well as his resemblance to a Liverpool favourite at the moment.

His former coach, George Dukes, has compared him to Liverpool’s very own Thiago Alcântara in an interview with ESPN.

“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’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 per cent 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.”

Prizing him away from Arsenal, with Patino having grown up in the club’s academy, will be a difficult task. The London based side definitely have less competition for places, giving Patino an easier route into the first team. However, given Klopp’s track record with player development and the recent emergence of the likes of Tyler Morton and Harvey Elliott, Patino could be enticed into a move — not least because of the chance to learn from Thiago.

Equally, Patino will know Thiago will not be around forever. With the midfielder already 30 years of age, there will come a time when Liverpool will need to replace him, and who better than someone who possess similar characteristics and who is highly regarded in world football as an emerging youngster?

Liverpool will know their choice is clear.

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Source
liverpool.com
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