Willy Gnonto injury: Bad news for Leeds as three major concerns hit Javi Gracia ahead of Arsenal trip
Willy Gnonto will arrive back in Leeds on Monday for urgent assessment on the ankle injury sustained while playing for Italy on Sunday – and the early prognosis does not look good.
Gnonto has been one of Leeds’ star men this season following his bargain £5.2m signing from FC Zurich. Indeed, with four goals and three assists to his name, his presence in the side has given Leeds optimism that they can pull away from relegation trouble.
Such was that form that the 19-year-old was starting to attract attention from some of the Premier League’s biggest spenders.
However, they may now have to do without Gnonto’s services over the next few weeks.
And while it is still too early to say how long he will be sidelined, reports from Italy suggest he faces at least two weeks on the sidelines.
After making an impact off the bench during Thursday’s 2-1 defeat to England, Italy boss Roberto Mancini handed Gnonto a start in Sunday’s trip to Malta.
The teenager was looking to make a big impact on his 10th international appearance.
However, Gnonto limped from the field after 22 minutes after suffering a sprained right ankle. He was replaced by Vincenzo Grifo at Stadium Ta’ Qali during the Azzurri’s 2-0 win.
Speaking after the game, Mancini said: “Gnonto is dealing with a sprain, I hope it is nothing to worry about.”
Mancini refused to say more on Gnonto specifically, but did add: “These are matches where you have everything to lose and they get ugly.
“Not pleasant ones. We did some good things and some less, but it was important to win. We could have scored a few more goals, but these matches are a bit strange.”
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Leeds to assess Willy Gnonto and have two other doubts
Gnonto is likely to arrive back in Leeds on Monday and will be immediately assessed by their medical team.
Initial reports suggest he will likely miss the trip to face Arsenal, and also appears doubtful at this stage for the clash against Nottingham Forest on Tuesday 4 April.
In addition, Leeds United boss Javi Gracia also has concerns over two other regulars ahead of the trip to the league leaders.
Tyler Adams continues to be assessed by medical staff after missing out on international action with a hamstring strain. Having picked up the injury in training, the USA midfielder was absent from the side that claimed a thrilling 4-2 win at Wolves last time out.
He remains touch and go for Saturday’s match. However, it is possible Leeds will rest him at the Emirates in a hope he can return to action against Forest.
Leeds are also sweating over the fitness of January recruit Max Wober.
The Austrian has made a tangible difference to the defence since a £11m arrival from RB Salzburg.
A regular at the heart of defence, Wober was withdrawn in the first half of Austria’s win over Azerbaijan.
Like Gnonto, he too will return to Thorp Arch for assessment on the problem with the diagnosis as yet unknown.
However, Leeds will be praying all three players can return to action as quickly as possible. Indeed, the trio are near-certain starters for Gracia when available.
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