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Arsenal: 5 young guns set to break into the first team

Arsenal youngster Charlie Patino
(Image credit: Getty)

Arsenal have a proud history of bringing youngsters into the first team, with some of the club's greatest-ever players risen through the ranks.

Tony Adams, Ashley Cole, Cesc Fabregas and Jack Wilshere were all fostered through the youth system in north London – and under Mikel Arteta, there's been a conscious effort to bring through even more starlets to the first team.

As the likes of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe ball in the first team, there's a collection of younger stars ready to join them at the Emirates in the coming months…

1. Omari Hutchinson

Age: 18
Position: MF/FW
Nationality: England

A skilful right-winger with a devastating left foot and a turn of pace that leaves defenders in the dust: there’s plenty of reason to think that Omari Hutchinson could well be the next Bukayo Saka and break into the first-team. 

The teenager has played across the frontline and he’s trained a lot with the first-team while in the under-23s.

2. Folarin Balogun

Age: 20
Position: FW
Nationality: England

Folarin Balogun toyed with his opponents at youth level, with a mixture of strength, pace and two-footedness that couldn’t be taught. 

The striker was born in New York and eligible for Nigeria but has represented England at under-21 level and made his first senior start against Brentford on the opening day of 2021/22.

3. Omar Rekik

Age: 20
Position: DF
Nationality: Tunisia

A cheap recruit signed from Hertha Berlin, Omar Rekik is already an established international for Tunisia, despite having yet to make a senior appearance for Arsenal. 

The youngster is a ball-playing centre-back in the mould of Ben White, who is comfortable bringing the ball out of defence and can also pick out a killer pass.

4. Marcelo Flores

Age: 18
Position: MF
Nationality: Mexico

Another full international, Canadian-born Marcelo Flores has already represented Mexico to tie him down to a country – and he has big potential. 

The youngster netted three goals in his first two games for the Gunners’ under-18s after joining from Ipswich and signed his first professional contract in October 2020.

5. Charlie Patino

Age: 18
Position: MF
Nationality: England

Snared from Luton as an 11-year-old, Charlie Patino was hailed as the most exciting midfielder to come through the academy since Jack Wilshere. 

A tall, slight left-footer with a penchant for making a late dash into the box, the teen scored on his senior debut too, netting late on in the League Cup against Sunderland.

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Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. Over his time on the brand, he has interviewed the likes of Aaron Ramsdale and Jack Wilshere, written pieces ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career, and has been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals, working for FFT