Eventful Leeds striker chase concludes as Whites announce arrival of Wilfried Gnonto on five-year deal

Wilfried Gnonto warming up before his Italy debut

Leeds United have finally added to their striker ranks by signing Wilfried Gnonto from FC Zurich.

Jesse Marsch’s side were hoping to land Bamba Dieng from Marseille after Rodrigo’s shoulder injury against Everton. Of course, they do have Patrick Bamford in their squad, though he has struggled with injuries in the last year or so.

Leeds agreed a deal with Marseille for Dieng and were confident about him joining before last night’s 11pm deadline. However, he began to consider an offer from Nice before his potential flight to England and this left Leeds ‘furious’.

They subsequently pulled out of the deal, putting Nice in pole position to land Dieng.

He failed his medical with the French club, but the move could still go through thanks to Ligue 1 regulations.

After losing out on Dieng, Whites chief Victor Orta quickly set his sights on Zurich’s Gnonto. The attacker is a full Italy international who came through Inter Milan’s academy before leaving for Switzerland in summer 2020.

And it seems Leeds got the deal over the line just in time, as they have now announced his arrival on a five-year contract.

A club statement read: ‘Leeds United are pleased to confirm the transfer deadline day signing of Italian international Wilfried Gnonto.

Wilfried Gnonto fills striker void

‘The forward joins the Whites from Swiss Super League champions FC Zurich, for an undisclosed fee.

‘He has penned a five-year deal at Elland Road, running until the summer of 2027.’

Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio provides some detail on the transfer. He claims Leeds have paid Zurich £3.8million (€4.5m) plus add-ons for the 18-year-old.

Leeds have also agreed to include a sell-on clause for Zurich, which will see the Swiss club get more money if Gnonto achieves a move in the future.

Gnonto will wear the number 29 shirt at Elland Road. He will provide competition and backup for Bamford, Joe Gelhardt and Sam Greenwood amid Rodrigo’s recovery from injury.

Meanwhile, Fulham chief Tony Khan says that he feels “thrilled” to have captured Leeds winger Dan James on loan until the end of the season.