Leeds United are interested in a deal to bring Wilfried Gnonto to Elland Road this summer.
That’s according to Gianluca Di Marzio, with the Sky Sport Italia journalist revealing in a recent post on Twitter that Leeds are currently working on a deal for the FC Zurich centre-forward – with a figure in the region of €5m (£4.2m) quoted for the 18-year-old.
In his tweet, the transfer insider said: “LUFC are working to sign Wilfried Gnonto from FC Zurich for a €4/5m transfer fee.”
This claim is backed up by a report by Gazzetta dello Sport (via Sport Witness), who also suggest that Victor Orta is in discussions with the Swiss side regarding a move for the Italy international – although the Italian publication state that the Super League side are demanding a figure closer to €10m (£8.5m) in order to part with the youngster this summer.
However, Gazzetta do go on to claim that an agreement with Gnonto himself has all but been reached, with it appearing that, as long as Leeds can come to an agreement with Zurich over a fee, the teenager’s switch to Elland Road could be completed in the next few days.
With it being well documented that Orta is in the market to add a new centre-forward to Jesse Marsch’s attacking options this summer, it is not difficult to see why the Spaniard would be interested in a deal to bring Gnonto to LS11 prior to September’s transfer deadline.
Indeed, the £9m-rated talent proved just how exciting an attacking prospect he is over his 33 Super League appearances – only nine of which came as starts – last season, scoring eight goals, registering three assists and creating four big chances for his teammates, in addition to taking an average of 1.4 shots, making 0.8 key passes and completing 0.9 dribbles per game.
The four-cap international – who can play anywhere across the front four – also impressed over his three appearances in the Swiss Cup last time out, adding a further two goals and two assists to his haul – taking his total to 10 goals and five assists over 35 fixtures in 2021/22, statistics that very few teenagers in world football can replicate at senior level.
These returns have seen the 18-year-old earn a significant amount of praise, none more so than from Italy manager Roberto Mancini, who said of Gnonto after a 1-1 draw with Germany back in June: “He’s so quick and can do everything. He’s a forward with a quality that we didn’t have before and he will improve a lot.”
The 57-year-old once again lavished praise on the striker ahead of the Azzurri’s meeting with Hungary in the Nations League the same month, stating: “For his age he knows how to play football like few others and he is very quick. If he develops without too much pressure, he can show us what quality he has.”
As such, while Gnonto may not come in and challenge Patrick Bamford for his starting spot in Marsch’s XI straight away, considering his impressive positional versatility, his evident speed and his clear eye for goal, it would indeed appear as if the teenager is a talent like very few others at his age – something that should be an incredibly exciting prospect for the Elland Road faithful.