Arsenal defender Dan Ballard is close to sealing a loan move which will see him spend next season in the Championship, football.london understands.
The Northern Ireland international spent last season on loan at League One side Blackpool, where he guided the Tangerines to promotion after an impressive campaign in defence.
Ballard, who made 30 appearances and helped keep 15 clean sheets last season, is in talks with several established Championship sides, while Blackpool are also keen on extending his loan for another season.
21-year-old Ballard made his senior international debut against Romania last September, and returned from injury in the second half of the season to help Blackpool gain promotion via the play-offs.
Meanwhile, highly-rated youngster Charlie Patino is expected to stay at Arsenal and be integrated into the first team next season.
The 17-year-old is regarded as one of the biggest talents at the club and will feature more regularly for the under-23s, with the starlet currently working hard in the gym as he looks to bolster his physicality.
Academy chief Per Mertesacker has earmarked Patino as a player who has the potential to eventually become a first team regular, and it’s likely that he’ll be offered a new contract when he turns 18 in October.
Do you want all the latest news from around Arsenal Football Club straight to your email inbox?
Of course you do.
By signing up for our Arsenal newsletter, you will receive a twice-daily email, focused on all the latest news from the Emirates Stadium.
And, not only that, but you will get exclusive content from our club writers Chris Wheatley and Kaya Kaynak before anyone else.
You won’t miss a thing when it comes to the Gunners.
How do you sign up?
It’s easy and only takes seconds.
Simply type your email address into the box at the top of this article – or any article on the Arsenal section of football.london in fact – labelled ‘Get the biggest daily stories by email’ and click ‘Subscribe’.
Alternatively, you can click here and tick the Arsenal box to subscribe for our Gunners newsletter.
If you decide later that you no longer wish to receive the emails, simply follow the unsubscribe link in one of the newsletters – but we don’t think you’ll want to.
Patino has played at a higher age group for both club and country in recent years, and scored against Chelsea Under-23s in February following a run of appearances in the team.
He was handed his first professional contract last October and will train regularly with the first team next season.