Manchester United legend, Rio Ferdinand, has hailed midfielder Charlie Patino’s ‘brave’ decision to leave Arsenal in search of greater first-team football opportunities.

Ferdinand also believed that Arsenal striker Folarin Balogun might be plotting the same move to follow Patino’s decision this summer.

Patino has made 33 appearances on loan in the Championship with Blackpool this season, but he is now set to leave Arsenal on a permanent transfer this summer as he is not keen on another loan move.

Following Arsenal’s qualification for the Champions League next season, Patino is unlikely to feature in Mikel Arteta’s plans.

Arsenal could face a similar dilemma with Balogun, who is enjoying a fantastic season on loan with Reims in the Ligue 1, where he has scored 18 goals in 32 appearances.

But with Gabriel Jesus and Eddie Nketiah competing for the centre-forward role at Arsenal, some clubs across Europe have shown interest in signing Balogun.

And Ferdinand believes Patino has made a courageous decision over his future at Emirates and expects Balogun may follow suit.

“I think he [Patino] is a serious player,” Ferdinand said on his YouTube channel FIVE.

“He has been on loan at Blackpool this season, played 25-30 games and shown another side to his game; in terms of the tactical side, being more combative, making more challenges. He has been showing another side of his game.

“With the ball, there’s been no doubt whether he is technically ridiculous.”

Ferdinand added: “[Arsenal’s other loan deals] have worked out, with who are the right ones to keep.

“I think, sometimes, especially when you go out on loan, you get that taste of playing men’s football in front of fans and in stadiums, and to think you are going to back and play [Under-]23s football, sometimes, it is like, ‘I can’t go back to that’. You have got to be brave.”

“Balogun has a big decision to make too, does he go back and potentially sit on the bench and wait for his chance at Arsenal, or does he go, “I want to play now, I have proved my worth”.

“Both of these boys have got big decisions, I think Charlie Patino has made up his mind and wanted to go elsewhere. It’s important for Arsenal with what they do. I think they will go for a bit more experience in that midfield area.”

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