By Dan Carter

19th Sep, 2023 | 11:10am

Carlton Palmer left confused by Wilfried Gnonto contract twist at Leeds United

Carlton Palmer has been left confused by the potential decision to reward Wilfried Gnonto’s bad behaviour with a new Leeds United contract.

The Whites are planning talks over a potential new contract for the Italian international to resolve his long-term future [Pete O’Rourke, 15 September] having received interest from several top-flight clubs this summer, including Everton and Freiburg.

Gnonto refused to play for Leeds during the transfer window having been unhappy that he wasn’t allowed to complete a move to Everton despite agreeing on personal terms [Fabrizio Romano, 10 August] and former England international and Leeds man Palmer believes the 19-year-old’s behaviour shouldn’t warrant a new contract.

Speaking to Football League World on Tuesday (19 September) he said: “He’s already under contract until the summer of 2027, so I don’t really get this. This is clearly just a message to keep a player happy who has caused problems and refused to train.  

“I don’t think you should reward bad behaviour. Yes, you’ve brought him back into the fold and he’s a good player, but the club is protected with the length of his contract already.

“However, he’s a big factor in getting them promoted so in that instance it might make sense to keep him happy. Should they get promoted, it would prove to be good business.”

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There is still a feeling of unhappiness from the Leeds United fanbase towards Gnonto and rightfully so given his action during the transfer window, but most of that unrest comes from supporters being disappointed they were set to lose one of their best players in such poor circumstances.

How the 19-year-old attempted to push through his exit was poor and rightly deserved criticism, but he is only a teenager. He will have had people advising him to make certain decisions and likely wouldn’t have been the one calling the shots himself.

When fit and interested, Gnonto has the ability to be the best player in the Championship and while he hasn’t got going quite as hoped this season, he could genuinely be the difference maker between the Whites finishing ninth this season or second.

A new contract is less of a reward for his behaviour and instead a bit of security for Leeds to know they aren’t going to be put in the same position they were this summer in January and transfer windows beyond. That way everyone, including Gnonto, knows exactly where they stand.

Palmer has taken a very black-and-white view of this potential development in the never-ending Gnonto saga and while it is a decision that will create plenty of discussion, it’s one being made for all the right reasons.

In other Leeds United news, Liam Rosenior has called the decision to appoint Daniel Farke this summer as fantastic