Leeds United forward Wilfried Gnonto has returned to training with the club’s first team, despite trying to force his way out of West Yorkshire in recent times.
That is according to The Athletic’s Phil Hay, who reports that the decision to reintegrate Gnonto into the first-team training group was made after discussions with manager Daniel Farke and club CEO Angus Kinnear today.
The development comes after the 19-year-old has refused to play in the Whites’ last three competitive fixtures in an attempt to force a move away to Premier League side Everton, who have reportedly had several bids rejected by Leeds for Gnonto’s services so far. Despite these repeated approaches the Yorkshire giants remain adamant that the Italian youngster is not for sale.
Gnonto’s refusal to play has – for many of the Elland Road faithful – severely damaged the reputation of a player who was one of the only bright spots in a particularly dark season for their side last season. The feeling exists among the fanbase that by making this decision Gnonto effectively burnt his bridges at the club, with it being difficult to see him being granted the opportunity to redeem himself on the pitch.
The Italian international’s decision to submit a formal transfer request on Friday evening – the details of which emerged just before Leeds were set to take on West Brom under the Elland Road lights – was met with a general sense of hostility directed towards Gnonto before kick-off.
Now the saga surrounding the forward has taken another twist, with Hay revealing that Gnonto has returned to first-team training today.
🚨 Exc – Willy Gnonto is back in first-team training with Leeds United.
Discussions with Daniel Farke and Angus Kinnear have seen him rejoin the main group today.
Follows his transfer request and absence from the last three games.
— Phil Hay (@PhilHay_) August 22, 2023
This decision presumably places Gnonto back into contention for a place in Farke’s squad when his side travel to take on newly-promoted Ipswich Town on Saturday.
How this would be taken by the travelling Whites supporters would be a different matter however, with the young Italian understandably having a lot to do to repair his now-broken standing amongst the fanbase.