Leeds winger Wilfried Gnonto has made clear to his agent that a move to Everton is not appealing to him – but there remains a chance a move to Serie A could still be on the cards for the Italy forward, sources have told TEAMtalk.
The 5ft 7in attacker proved one of the rare hits for the Whites in an otherwise bleak season. Their three-year spell in the Premier League came to an end with a whimper as a string of managers tried, and failed, to pull them clear of trouble. Now back in the Championship and under the control of new owners and a new manager, the West Yorkshire side hope to bounce back at the first time of asking.
And while Leeds have already lost several high-profile players, including Robin Koch, Diego Llorente, Rasmus Kristensen, Marc Roca, Brenden Aaronson and Max Wober, they have, to date, managed to retain the services of their most sought-after stars.
However, with just under a month until the European transfer window closes, Leeds face an anxious wait to see what sort of bids will come in for their prized assets.
One of them, Tyler Adams, is now the subject of reported interest from Chelsea, while Aston Villa are also seemingly considering triggering the reported £25m exit clause in his contract.
However, Leeds have also fielded strong interest in Gnonto, with Everton among those keen to lure him back into the Premier League.
Sean Dyche’s side have already seen an opening £15m offer rejected for the 19-year-old, who blew Gary Neville’s mind during one appearance last season.
And according to Football Insider, Everton have since returned with an improved offer worth £20m for the 11-times capped Italy star.
Wilfried Gnonto makes Everton transfer stance clear
Leeds, however, are in no hurry – or under no pressure – to accept the offer and have turned down their approach.
More to the point, sources have indicated to TEAMtalk that Gnonto has told his agent that a move to Goodison Park does not hold any interest and he would prefer to stay at Elland Road.
With a deal to sign Gnonto now unlikely, the Toffees have turned their attention to Southampton’s Kamaldeen Sulemana.
As for Leeds, they retain an element of confidence that Gnonto will stay at the club and help Daniel Farke’s side in their push for promotion.
However, we understand that Gnonto is open to the idea of a psosible return to Italy should an opportunity arise this summer.
To that end, we understand that Juventus are among those keen on his signature. The Turin giants are carefully managing their finances this summer having been excluded from competing in European competition next season.
As a result, they are reportedly looking to offload their top earners in Paul Pogba and Dusan Vlahovic. And the exits of either could give them the finances to push for a move for Gnonto.
While they are yet to make their move, an approach could be launched before the window closes on September 1.
Man Utd move also opens potential transfer avenue for Wilfried Gnonto
Juventus are far from the only Serie A side keen on his services though.
And we understand that Atalanta – soon to be cash-rich thanks to the sale of Rasmus Hojlund to Manchester United – have also asked about Gnonto in the past week.
Leeds have responded by telling the Bergamo side that they do not want to sell the 19-year-old.
However, the Serie A side could look to test Leeds’ resolve by launching a firm offer for his services.
If Gnonto makes clear he wants to leave, then Leeds’ hand could yet be forced before the window closes, despite their wish to keep him.
In the back of the player’s mind is the 2024 European Championships and he knows his prospects of making Roberto Mancini’s squad are best served by playing in Serie A, or at the least, a top-five league.
The winger has made 28 appearances for Leeds since a £5.4m move from FC Zurich last summer. The teenager has four goals and four assists to his name, becoming a huge crowd favourite at Elland Road in the process.