Leeds United are reportedly preparing an improved bid to sign FC Zurich’s highly coveted 18-year-old Italian forward, Wilfried Gnonto.
According to a report by Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport, Leeds United are ‘taking particular interest’ in signing FC Zurich’s prodigious forward Wilfried Gnonto. The Whites are preparing an improved bid ‘raising their offer’ to €5 million for the Italian international.
Reputed Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio was among the first to break the news about Leeds’ interest Gnonto. As per Di Marzio, the Whites are hoping to wrap up a deal worth around €4 million to €5 million for the Italian international this summer. It has since been revealed that Leeds United have put forward an official bid for Gnonto.
But the offer has fallen short of FC Zurich’s valuation of close to €10 million to part ways with the Italian forward, whose contract with the reigning Swiss champions is due to expire in 2023. The 18-year-old is considered a huge talent and is highly rated in his homeland. He spent the majority of his formative years with Inter Milan before joining FC Zurich on a free transfer two years ago to get more exposure to first-team football.
The move has done wonders for the attacking phenom, as Gnonto has made 70 senior appearances for the Swiss outfit, notching up 12 goals and nine assists. Those are impressive numbers, considering he is still in his teens. Already a full-time Italian international, he became the youngest goalscorer in Azzurri history by netting against Germany in the UEFA Nations League earlier this year and has earned three more caps.
Gnonto scored ten goals and provided five assists in 36 appearances across all competitions for Zurich last season as they won the Swiss Super League. However, Zurich are going through a slump in form this season and are rock-bottom in their domestic league, with a mere two points on the board.
Despite the player entering the final 12 months of his contract, they are reluctant to budge away from their €10 million valuation. Zurich have already knocked back Leeds’s opening bid for the teenage sensation, as well as offers from Feyenoord and Freiburg, with all suitors falling short of their asking price.
Given the tremendous amount of potential Gnonto possesses and the fact that the Whites are on the lookout for a new centre-forward as cover for the currently injured Patrick Bamford before the summer transfer window closes, it is easy to see why the Peacocks would be interested in bringing the 18-year-old to Elland Road in the coming weeks.
The Italian international can operate as a centre-forward or even in midfield and is strong, powerful, and has a low centre of gravity, making him a tricky opponent. At just 18, Gnonto has a bright future, and Leeds wants to take advantage of his situation.
As things stand, the Whites are currently readying a fresh bid, potentially up to €5 million, as they try to tempt the Swiss club into selling their prized asset. Whether Leeds will be able to reach a middle ground in negotiations with Zurich to secure Gnonto’s signature remains to be seen.