May 26, 2024

Leeds United: One winner and one loser if Wilfried Gnonto is sold in January

Leeds United’s Willy Gnonto could be a player with plenty of interest again this January.

It did not always seem as though him remaining a Leeds player would be the case past the summer deadline, with plenty of speculation around the future of the winger, who was one of the few bright sparks for the Whites last season despite their relegation from the Premier League.

The Italy international had not made an appearance for the club for some time since the opening day of the campaign against Cardiff City, after reportedly asking not to be included in the side as he targeted a move away, something which also led to him training away from the rest of the first-team.

The 19-year-old then handed in a transfer request in the hopes of forcing through a move to Goodison Park, according to David Ornstein of The Athletic. However, Phil Hay then revealed that Gnonto held positive talks with Daniel Farke and the club’s hierarchy, and was now back in training with the senior squad, potentially putting an end to the transfer saga.

Since then, he returned to first-team training and action and played in all the games against the likes of Ipswich Town, Sheffield Wednesday, Millwall, and Hull City. The Italian also scored in the 4-3 win over Ipswich.

He sustained an injury against Hull, though and has missed the most recent fixtures. Gnonto will return to action some time after the international break. The player has required minor surgery to rectify the ankle issue, according to Hay in The Athletic.

The club with the strongest interest in his services during the window, who my still come back in for him, in spite of the recent injury blow is Everton. It has been reported during August that the Toffees tabled an opening offer of £15million to sign Gnonto from the West Yorkshire outfit, but the bid was swiftly knocked back by Leeds.

Sky Sports have also claimed that Everton actually made four offers for Gnonto, which began at around £15 million but has slowly risen to a figure closer to £25 million inclusive of add-ons.

Here, we take a look at one winner and one loser should Everton or another top-flight club come knocking to pry him from Leeds’ hands in the coming transfer window.

Winner: Jaidon Anthony

Jaidon Anthony, Georginio Rutter, Archie GrayHe sustained an injury against Hull, though and has missed the most recent fixtures. Gnonto will return to action some time after the international break. The player has required minor surgery to rectify the ankle issue, according to Hay in The Athletic.

The club with the strongest interest in his services during the window, who my still come back in for him, in spite of the recent injury blow is Everton. It has been reported during August that the Toffees tabled an opening offer of £15million to sign Gnonto from the West Yorkshire outfit, but the bid was swiftly knocked back by Leeds.

Sky Sports have also claimed that Everton actually made four offers for Gnonto, which began at around £15 million but has slowly risen to a figure closer to £25 million inclusive of add-ons.

Here, we take a look at one winner and one loser should Everton or another top-flight club come knocking to pry him from Leeds’ hands in the coming transfer window.

The Whites have a plethora of wingers at their disposal at present, but the majority are better on the right-hand side, although many can play on both flanks.

Crysencio Summerville and Dan James have done that this season, as has Gnonto himself. Ian Poveda is more wedded to playing as right-winger, though. Leeds’ most specialised left-wingers are Gnonto and Anthony at the present time, with Jack Harrison and Luis Sinisterra out on loan and both more likely to play on the left as well.

Anthony, therefore, would be the biggest winner in a situation where Gnonto departed. It could see him make the position his own and dominate Leeds’ left flank for the remainder of the season. He recently made his full debut in the win over QPR, but has a goal from four substitute appearances prior to that.

Anthony has been a quality operator at this level with AFC Bournemouth and could be a major asset. 10-30 minute bench cameos are perhaps a slight waste of the 23-year-old’s obvious talents, and he wasn’t afforded beyond 65 minutes in the 1-0 win over QPR despite playing very well.

Loser: Leeds United

wilfried-gnonto-leeds-united

Despite the fact Leeds would likely receive upwards of £25 million to sell Gnonto, they could come to regret that given the high ceiling of the player.

He has enormous potential, as evidenced by the fact he is Italy’s youngest ever goalscorer. On 14 June 2022 he scored his first international goal in a 5–2 away loss to Germany, to become the youngest goalscorer for Italy, aged 18 years and 222 days, breaking the previous record held by Bruno Nicole set in 1958.

Gnonto has 13 caps for his country already and continues to receive call-ups despite being a player in the second tier of English football. The Italian has over 100 career appearances for Leeds and FC Zurich and doesn’t turn 20 until early November. He could become an elite footballer one day and Leeds may be selling him before he gets there.

Of course, right now, the fee Leeds could obtain would be a useful one to help balance the books after they only received a significant sum for Tyler Adams of all their player departures this summer. However, Gnonto could be worth a considerable amount more in the coming years. He is one of the club’s best players already at just 19 and will certainly develop at Elland Road into an even greater player should they hang onto him in the meantime.

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