Six Arsenal academy stars who are set for a big breakthrough in 2022

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Charlie Patino celebrates his first Arsenal goal against Sunderland, Emirates Stadium, December 2021

Arsenal’s academy has been earning rave reviews, with products Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe lighting up the Emirates this season.

The Gunners have used the youngest team in the league on average all season and these youthful stars have been a revelation at the club after a few disappointing seasons.

Mikel Arteta has not been afraid to throw academy kids into the main side, and there are many top talents within the ranks at Hale End who can follow in the footsteps of Saka and Smith Rowe to make their first-team breakthrough.

We’ve taken a look at six of them who can begin to make a name for themselves in 2022.

Charlie Patino

One of the most highly-rated young players at the club, Patino looks set for a very bright future.

The 18-year-old made his first-team debut in the Carabao Cup quarter-final win against Sunderland, and scored within 10 minutes.

He has been called by some as the best talent they have ever seen come through the academy, and he will aim to nail down a regular role in the Arsenal central midfield as he progresses.

Some talent.

Arsenal Under-23s Charlie Patino

READ: ‘The best kid I’ve ever seen’: Arsenal’s Charlie Patino & a superb solo goal

Omari Hutchinson

An 18-year-old attacking midfielder, Hutchinson has impressed Arsenal coaches and it is only a matter of time before he gets an opportunity to prove himself at senior level.

He’s one of the most skilful players in the academy and first gained attention when just 12-years-old, with a video showcasing his immense dribbling and close control going viral.

His skills remained throughout his development, and he is going from strength to strength in the Under-23 side. With some notable goals and strong performances this season, he is certainly one to keep an eye on.

Miguel Azeez

A tall, elegant central midfielder, Azeez is currently out on loan at League One side Portsmouth.

He has already made his first-team debut for the club in a Europa League group stage match against Dundalk, and the Gunners believe that he will develop into a top player.

It is unclear whether he will continue out on loan for next season, but should Azeez return to the club, there is every chance he gets an opportunity in the senior side.

Folarin Balogun

The most experienced player in the academy, Balogun ended months of speculation about his future by signing a long term contract in the summer.

He made his first Premier League start on the opening day of the 2021-22 season as Arsenal fell to a 2-0 defeat against Brentford.

With two first-team goals to his name, Balogun is seen as a potential starting striker in the future and is expected to go out on loan for the second half of the 2021-22 season.

Regular game time will undoubtedly benefit the 20-year-old, helping him develop physically before he returns to the Emirates.

He has already proven himself to simply be too good for academy football now, and often leaves youth team defenders on the floor.

Mika Biereth

The Swedish striker scored 21 goals and assisted 13 in just 21 Premier League 2 games for Fulham last season, earning him a move to North London in 2021.

Biereth has also been tipped for a loan move, and has formed a nice partnership with Balogun for the Under-23 side.

His finishing ability makes him a very solid asset, and Biereth is sure to have a solid career in the future.

Salah-Eddine Oulad M’Hand

An 18-year-old box to box midfielder, Ouland M’Hand is yet another ridiculously skilful talent.

He made the bench for the Carabao Cup fourth-round tie against Leeds United and will be hoping for more first-team opportunities as the year progresses.

With four goals in 11 Premier League 2 games this season, he earned his surprise inclusion in the squad, with the Arsenal manager praising his effort in training.

“What he does every day in training and the games that he’s playing, for his attitude and the quality he has – he totally deserves to be with us,” Arteta stated after the Leeds match.


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