City, Arsenal ‘follow situation’ of ‘fantastic’ relegated star with Pep ‘going crazy’ over potential deal

Jason Soutar
Manchester City and Arsenal-linked Wilfried Gnonto with Crysencio Summerville before a match against West Ham

Arsenal and Manchester City are both interested in signing Leeds United winger Wilfried Gnonto, according to reports in Italy.

Gnonto was one of the very few bright spots in a horrendous 2022/23 campaign for the West Yorkshire outfit.

The 19-year-old joined Leeds from FC Zurich for a measly €4.5million last September and made 28 appearances across all competitions, scoring four goals and providing four assists.

He featured very heavily under Jesse Marsch but fell out of favour following the American’s sacking.

Marsch was replaced by Javi Gracia, who clearly did not fancy Gnonto, who then started one of Sam Allardyce’s four games in charge.

Although game time was a lot less frequent from March, the 10-cap Italian international is very highly thought of and will probably leave Leeds in the summer transfer window.

READ MORE: Leeds never more grateful for being pied now Willy Gnonto is tearing up the Prem…

Given the fact he penned a five-year contract when he joined from Zurich, Leeds will be expecting to get a fair whack if Gnonto does depart. He is valued at €18m, according to Transfermarkt.

And there is interest coming from the two best teams in England, according to reports in the player’s homeland.

Calciomercato say both Manchester City and Arsenal are ‘closely following his situation’ and are ‘waiting to understand’ what Leeds’ plan is.

The Italian outlet say ‘many clubs’ are interested in acquiring the ‘blue jewel’ after Roma, Sassuolo and Fiorentina all ‘enquired’ last year.

Meanwhile, TuttoMercatoWeb reckon City manager Pep Guardiola is going ‘crazy’ for Gnonto and wants to bring him to the Etihad.

It is added that Juventus are also keen and have had their eyes on the young winger for quite some time.

One of Gnonto’s best displays this season came during the 2-1 defeat at Aston Villa in January.

Following his sparkling performance up against Ashley Young, former Manchester United defender Gary Neville was high in praise of the teenager.

“He is absolutely fantastic,” Neville told Sky Sports. “It is the first time I’ve seen him live, and knowing what a good left winger is, his movement to get on the ball and his body shape to receive the ball is absolutely fantastic.

“He is tenacious as well. That is what you want from your players. He is saying ‘come on, Ashley Young is booting the hell out of me’. Ashley Young will, that’s what I’d do against a 19-year-old who looks as good as he looks.

“His movement has been really good. I could watch him all day long. He knows the game already at 19. He knows the position he’s playing in. He’s hanging right on the line of offside and making it difficult for Young and making those double movements.”

There appears to be a huge clearout on the cards following Leeds’ relegation to the Championship.

The same report says Ilian Meslier could leave with Manchester United and Chelsea both ‘ready to battle’ for his signature, despite his below-par performances in 22/23.

Furthermore, Pascal Struijk’s future is up in the air amidst interest ‘from the Premier League and beyond’.

Spanish duo Marc Roca and Rodrigo are both likely to return to their home country, while Luis Sinisterra is also expected to depart.

American midfielder Tyler Adams is not short of suitors with Erik ten Hag ‘glad’ to bring him to Manchester United.

Finally, Weston McKennie has returned to Juventus following his underwhelming loan spell at Elland Road.

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