Leeds owner Radrizzani reveals incredible proposal for Man Utd, Arsenal target; discusses Roma swap deal plans

Juventus players Dusan Vlahovic and Federico Chiesa

Leeds United majority owner Andrea Radrizzani has revealed how sporting director Victor Orta wanted to sign a deadly attacker now in the sights of Manchester United and Arsenal, while also speaking about a possible swap deal for Nicolo Zaniolo.

Leeds had a busy January transfer window, bringing in four new players from all across Europe. Max Wober joined from Red Bull Salzburg, Georginio Rutter signed from Hoffenheim, while USA international Weston McKennie also arrived at Elland Road on loan from Juventus with the option to buy.

Those three players bolstered Leeds’ senior squad. But Orta also had one eye on the future as he brought in teenage centre-back Diogo Monteiro from Swiss outfit Servette. He has gone into Leeds’ U21 squad and will aim to become part of the first team in the future.

During an interview with DAZN (via Tuttomercatoweb), Radrizzani explained how Zaniolo could have arrived from Roma too.

“We proposed an exchange at the last minute with one of our own but it couldn’t be done because Roma didn’t have [enough] non-EU places,” the Italian businessman said.

Zaniolo was also linked with Tottenham and Bournemouth, but a move to the Premier League failed to go through. Instead, the winger joined Turkish club Galatasaray in a deal worth €29.5million (£25.9m).

Radrizzani was also asked if Orta has ever proposed the signing of a big-name Serie A star. Surprisingly, he revealed how Orta suggested Federico Chiesa in the past, an attacker who is now being courted by Man Utd and Arsenal.

Radrizzani was then quizzed on summer signing Wilfried Gnonto, who is quickly becoming one of Leeds’ best players despite being only 19 years old.

Andrea Radrizzani praises Wilfried Gnonto

Gnonto came through Inter Milan’s academy before moving to FC Zurich. When Zurich opted to sell him, it came as a surprise that no Serie A clubs tried to sign the Italy international – with Leeds eventually winning the race.

“We wanted to either get him in January or at least in February for June,” Radrizzani said of the teenager. “Then the crisis of the last few days of the market made us anticipate. We found the agreement with Zurich. Then he signed after the visits.

“I love him, he is an exceptional guy. It’s hard to find a 19-year-old Italian who speaks four languages very well and has such an open mind.”

When asked why no Italian clubs began negotiations for Gnonto, Radrizzani added: “I don’t know exactly, maybe the Swiss championship doesn’t have enough appeal to Italy.

“We believed in him and thought it would take longer anyway but he exploded because he is humble, concrete and intelligent in the game. He knows how to manage time and space. Look at the personality with which he entered against Germany and [how he] makes assists.”

Meanwhile, a Match of the Day pundit has praised Javi Gracia for the changes he made which helped Leeds beat Southampton at the weekend.