Leeds United forward Wilfried Gnonto could return to Italy in the summer and a report has revealed the two Serie A sides at the front of the queue.
Gnonto has shown glimpses of his potential during his debut season with Leeds after joining them from FC Zurich. The attacker looks capable of playing for a bigger club, despite saying he is happy in west Yorkshire.
Therefore, the increasing likelihood of Leeds suffering relegation to the Championship means Gnonto could be in demand this summer. A return to Italy is possible for the former Inter youngster, who never got to make his Serie A debut with the Nerazzurri.
According to La Gazzetta Dello Sport, the two clubs showing the most interest in taking Gnonto back to Italy are Lazio and Fiorentina.
Lazio are on the verge of securing Champions League qualification for next season. Aware that former Chelsea forward Pedro could leave when his contract expires in the summer, they have joined the race for Gnonto.
Fiorentina – who will be West Ham’s opponents in the upcoming Europa Conference League final – have already established their interest in the 19-year-old, meanwhile.
Leeds are likely to make a profit on the €6million transfer fee they spent to sign Gnonto last year. There is a hint from La Gazzetta that his value may have doubled, making him worth more than £10m.
After all, Gnonto has scored four goals and provided the same number of assists from 27 appearances in all competitions during his first season in English football.
He began to lose his place in the starting Leeds lineup during Javi Gracia’s brief time on the touchline. However, his impact before under Jesse Marsch was catching more widespread attention.
Gnonto a likely casualty of Leeds relegation – but can he aim higher?
Although he is under contract at Elland Road until 2027, Gnonto might have to be sold by Leeds if they lose Premier League status. To avoid the drop, they must beat Tottenham Hotspur on the final day and hope other results go their way.
Going down to the Championship could cause an exodus of talent from the Leeds squad. Gnonto looks to be one of the most desirable players they could lose, which would be painful after how fond the fans have become of him already.
Because of his potential, it is somewhat surprising to see Lazio and Fiorentina as the strongest candidates to sign him. Recently, other sources have spoken of interest from the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund.
But Gnonto has carefully judged the steps of his blossoming career so far and might want to make an intermediate kind of step when the time comes for him to leave Leeds.