The chance of moving to Premier League Arsenal was an opportunity that was just too good to turn down for 11-year-old Charlie Patino, according to his father Julio.
The Luton Town starlet was snapped up by the Premier League giants last week, for a fee reported to be over £10,000.
“When clubs like Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City, Tottenham, come knocking on your door, there’s a reason behind it.”Julio Patino
Although some clubs have been criticised for stockpiling the cream of English talent, speaking exclusively to the News/Gazette, Julio said: “Opportunities like this don’t come too often so you’ve got to take them and we’re absolutely delighted for him.
“When clubs like Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City, Tottenham, come knocking on your door, there’s a reason behind it and you can’t just say ‘no thanks, I’m quite happy where I am.’
“A lot of the coaches at Luton said to us that Charlie’s now at a level where he needs to be playing your Man City’s, your Chelsea’s, on a weekly basis, as opposed to academy three academies.
“There’s only so many extra training sessions a week you can give a child before you realise they’re at a level where they need to move on.
“Luton Town didn’t want to lose Charlie, they absolutely love him there, but they realised for him to develop further he needs to move on.”
Patino had a number of options at his disposal, including Man City, Chelsea and Tottenham, but in the end he settled on the Gunners.
Julio admitted that it wasn’t just footballing reasons that came into their ultimate decision, while any extra pressure that Charlie may have felt with the move too doesn’t appear to be weighing on his young shoulders either.
For a special two page feature on Patino, including quotes from Luton Town Academy Operations manager Dan Walder and a look at the other players who have come through the Kenilworth Road ranks, see the News/Gazette on sale now.