Leeds United hope to land bargain deal for new striker within 10 days, as pursuit of Wilfried Gnonto gets confirmation

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Wilfried Gnonto warming up before his Italy debut Credit: PA Images
Wilfried Gnonto warming up before his Italy debut Credit: PA Images

Leeds United could sign a striker within 10 days after a respected Italian reporter confirmed their interest in rising star, Wilfried Gnonto.

A new attacker remains on the transfer agenda for a Leeds side who have already brought in eight new players this summer. They require further support for Patrick Bamford, who has had some physical issues, up front. However, they will have to be clever in how they go about it, so as not to block the progression of Joe Gelhardt.

On Sunday, a five-man shortlist of potential reinforcements came to light. It included several established strikers, like Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins and Southampton’s Che Adams.

But reports in Italy have been hinting at an interest in another player. Recently, Nicolo Schira revealed that Leeds are interested in Wilfried Gnonto.

Now, Sky Sport expert, Gianluca Di Marzio, has confirmed that is the case. In fact, it is now believed that Leeds could sign Gnonto by August 25.

A former Inter academy player, Gnonto has been learning his trade in Switzerland with FC Zurich. Last season, he scored 10 goals from 35 appearances in all competitions for them.

As a result, he was rewarded with his senior Italy debut earlier this year. Gnonto has taken his chance, becoming the country’s youngest ever senior goalscorer when he netted against Germany in June.

Clubs have been increasing their awareness of the 18-year-old’s talents. There has been some speculation over a return to Italian football. But now he could be on the verge of a Premier League move.

According to Di Marzio, Leeds are trying to sign the teenager for a fee between €4million and €5million. Therefore, in English money, he could cost them between £3.4million and £4.2million.

It could be a smart investment, given the potential Gnonto has been showing. He may have no Premier League experience, but that hasn’t stopped Leeds elsewhere this summer.

Indeed, of their eight new arrivals, only new backup goalkeeper, Joel Robles, and youth striker, Sonny Perkins, had any appearances in the English top flight to their names before.

Wilfried Gnonto an exciting Italian to invest in

It has been a while since Leeds signed an Italian player. It was previously a common theme under controversial ex-owner, Massimo Cellino.

Since his compatriot, Andrea Radrizzani, took the reins, the only Italian player they have signed has been Elia Caprile. Although, the young goalkeeper never made a first-team appearance.

Gnonto would be expected to push for a place in Jesse Marsch’s lineup if he were to complete a move to Elland Road.

Perhaps it is sensible for Leeds to be looking to invest in the future. As stated, rather than blocking Gelhardt’s progress, they could have someone developing alongside him.

The fact that Gnonto can play as a supporting striker or out wide, as well as a centre-forward, also suggests there could be room for both to grow simultaneously.

And for a fee in the region of £4million for someone who is already a full international – he is in the last year of his contract with Zurich, after all – it seems hard for Leeds to go wrong.

If Di Marzio’s prediction that Leeds can sign Gnonto within 10 days is true, their summer activity could come to a positive conclusion. And they may yet have another trick up their sleeve as they look to strengthen in another position…

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