Leeds United are understood to be “increasingly confident” of agreeing a new contract with young winger Wilfried Gnonto, according to Sky Sports reporter Lyall Thomas.
The Whites have been keen on retaining their young talent as of late, with youth prospects Archie Gray and Mateo Joseph both having agreed to significant contract extensions over the last week.
And, if reports from Sky Sports journalist Lyall Thomas are to be believed, Italian international Gnonto may be the next on the list amid speculation concerning his long-term future in West Yorkshire having re-emerged this January.
Interest in the 20-year-old from Premier League side Everton was widely reported on during last summer’s transfer window, a situation which led Gnonto himself to effectively go on strike at Leeds, refusing to play for his side in an attempt to force a move.
Whilst this scenario was eventually handled by Whites boss Daniel Farke, with the German handing Gnonto a second chance at Elland Road, the winger has struggled to break back into the Leeds starting XI since – mostly due to the consistently impressive performances of both Crysencio Summerville and Dan James on the flanks.
What has been said?
Having a player of Gnonto’s quality on the bench every game speaks volumes about the strength-in-depth the Leeds squad currently has, but was always going to fuel further speculation around the young Italian’s future.
Top-flight sides West Ham and Everton are both reportedly interested in acquiring Gnonto’s services this January, yet it now appears that the Whites’ hierarchy are keen on handing him a new deal in West Yorkshire instead – despite the fact that his current contract runs until 2027.
Thomas, writing on X, claims that Leeds are now “increasingly confident” of securing new terms with Gnonto, the specifics of which are yet to be elaborated upon.
— Lyall Thomas (@SkySportsLyall) January 22, 2024
An odd decision, especially given the length of Gnonto’s current deal
In terms of Leeds’ current priorities that need addressing this January, a new deal for a player whose current contract expires in 2027 doesn’t feature high on the list.
In fact, there are many amongst the Leeds fanbase who would argue that the Italian has lost the sparkle which he repeatedly demonstrated in the Premier League last season, with the youngster having produced just one goal and one assist across 21 appearances so far this term.
Much of Gnonto’s lack of impact can be attributed to the fact that most of these appearances have come from the bench given the impressive form of fellow wingers Summerville and James, both of who have firmly established themselves as being ahead of Gnonto in the club’s pecking order.
Yet there is no denying that the 20-year-old is still a player capable of moments of individual brilliance, and as such giving him a new deal with adapted terms wouldn’t be the worst idea. If anything, it could give Leeds a greater deal of control over how much they could charge for Gnonto’s sale if they do decide to part ways with him.
Whether that is a priority for Leeds right now given their current situation in both full-back positions, however, is questionable.