Leeds United look set to keep Willy Gnonto this summer with the Italian international firmly part of manager Daniel Farke’s plans for the season ahead.
The 19-year-old, who started up-front against Cardiff City on Sunday, has been linked with Everton for most of the summer with the Toffees having a £15 million bid rejected by the board at Elland Road.
It is the only formal bid for Gnonto with Everton yet to come in with a second offer, which is believed to be down to the speed in which Leeds dismissed the Merseysiders’ first bid for the young star.
Having signed Gnonto from FC Zurich for just £4 million in September last year, the former Inter Milan academy forward quickly became a fans’ favourite as he showed flashes of the quality that saw him called up to Roberto Mancini’s Italy squad at just 18.
Gnonto signed a long-term deal when he arrived in West Yorkshire, a contract that takes him up to 2027, and despite the Whites’ relegation from the Premier League last season it’s reported that Gnonto is happy to stay at the club.
“I think that Daniel Farke sees Gnonto as being quite vital to the project in terms of coming back up, so Leeds have been pretty bullish here,” said CBS transfer journalist Ben Jacobs.
“They’ve been pretty dismissive with Everton, which tells you that somebody is going to have to pay above market value to succeed on this one.
“As it stands, Everton haven’t come back and Leeds are planning for the player to remain at Elland Road for the season. Only a huge offer or a player-driven move to try and force an exit is looking like changing that at this stage.”
I was unsure on Gnonto staying at Leeds until I watched him against Cardiff on Sunday where I saw no signs of a player wanting out.
The way in which he worked for the team and linked up with Crysencio Summerville and Luis Sinisterra was a joy to behold, and if that trio can stick together, then I think a return to Premier League is a lot more likely.
Gnonto’s friendship with Summerville is also a big factor and even though we were relegated, I think Willy is happy at Leeds.
Given the length of his contract too, a big offer would be needed which means unless somebody is prepared to pay top dollar, then the only way Gnonto leaves Leeds is if he really forces a move away – which is something I can’t see happening!