Arsenal and Chelsea are among the admirers of Leeds United attacker Willy Gnonto, according to a reporter who has revealed the player’s stance.
Gnonto looked like a revelation for Leeds earlier in the season, but fell down the pecking order during Javi Gracia’s brief spell in charge. The Italy international will now be hoping to receive more faith from Sam Allardyce until the end of the season.
Beyond then, he is likely to attract interest in the summer transfer window. A number of clubs have already been keeping tabs on Gnonto’s progress.
Now, transfer insider Dean Jones has revealed how Arsenal and Chelsea are taking a look at the attacker.
Jones told Give Me Sport: “One of the big fears for Leeds right now is that not only is their Premier League status in doubt, but suddenly they have to worry about future investment and holding onto young stars.
“The main worry is Gnonto because there is no way he can be playing in a lower division next season. This is a player that could be heading to the Champions League while his teammates are down in the Championship.
“Earlier in the campaign he started to establish himself at this level and I know a lot of scouts have been surprised at how he has not been affected by the pressures of the Premier League.
“Even in bad times, his own game has been pretty solid and when he has a smile on his face he seems capable of anything on a football pitch.
“I know Chelsea have been linked and I don’t have too much information on there being progress with that but I do think Arsenal have half an eye on how Leeds’ season plays out because he could give them an edge if he looks to move clubs but stay in England.
“Beyond that, there will be so many options on the continent. I’m already hearing about clubs like Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund having an eye on this.
“But we have to see how Leeds get on in the coming weeks, because I don’t think the player wants to leave at all. He was really excited to join Leeds and has the characteristics to save them.”
Leeds hoping to keep Premier League status – and Gnonto
Of course, Leeds are currently at risk of relegation from the Premier League. Should they drop down to the Championship, it would weaken their negotiating position for players like Gnonto.
The 19-year-old is supposed to be under contract at Elland Road until 2027 after joining from FC Zurich in Switzerland last summer.
During his debut Leeds season, Gnonto has played 24 times in all competitions. Along the way, he has scored four goals and provided the same number of assists.
Exactly how long he stays at Leeds remains to be seen, but it does look like they will be just one stop on his journey towards the top of the game.
Arsenal could give him a step up in the Premier League, since they will have Champions League football on offer next season. Gnonto could be an exciting addition to the young core of their squad, which requires more depth in attack.
Chelsea, meanwhile, have endured a traumatic season, but have been preparing for the future by signing as many young talents as possible.
Alternatively, someone like Juventus could offer him the chance to finally play in Serie A. Gnonto left Inter Milan’s academy in 2020 before ever making his senior debut for them.
Options further afield will allow Gnonto to consider various exit routes from Leeds if the time comes for him to make an early departure.
But the fact that Jones says he is happy at the club could give them a glimmer of hope of keeping him. For now, the focus has to be on retaining Premier League status.
Games against Manchester City, Newcastle, West Ham and Tottenham Hotspur will determine their fate.