By George Overhill

27th Mar, 2023 | 8:10pm

Weston McKennie talks between Leeds United and Juventus leave door open for Willy Gnonto negotiations

A Juventus approach for Willy Gnonto is not dependent on Leeds United signing Weston McKennie but lines of communication are already open, says Giovanni Albanese.

The Old Lady’s interest in the Elland Road attacker had been linked to the loan-to-buy arrangement for the American midfielder in the Gazzetta dello Sport journalist’s story on Sunday (26 March), where he reported contact between the Italian side and Gnonto’s agents.

A departure for Italian striker Moise Kean and the presence of McKennie in England were noted as “key” to Juve’s pursuit of Gnonto, but in response to questions from a reader Albanese has clarified that Gnonto is a target if an offer comes in for Kean but McKennie is relevant because his move has opened the dialogue between the two sides so future Gnonto negotiations could quickly get up and running.

In a back and forth on Twitter in relation to his Gazzetta story Albanese said: “I wrote that Gnonto is an idea in the event of the sale of Kean, possible if a reasonable offer arrives. Juve and Leeds have an open, absolutely autonomous and parallel discourse for McKennie…

“The piece is based on the possible plot, not on the figures. I don’t know of a negotiation yet, just a survey. McKennie ends up in this piece just to remember that Juve and Leeds already have an open discussion: that’s all.”


Subscribe to Football Insider TV now

McKennie is bound to have a strong bearing on anything that happens between the two sides on Gnonto whether the two sets of talks were officially combined or not.

The fact that the American’s potential permanent move is based on a handshake agreement means that it is clearly going to sour relations significantly if that deal is not honoured in the event of beating relegation.

And should the Whites see a situation where they are actually prepared to countenance a Gnonto departure to Turin in the summer, the fees involved with both players will surely get played off against one another.

But it sounds like the teenage star’s future could be more affected in an immediate sense by the former Everton striker Kean, whom Juventus signed on a permanent basis for £25million earlier this month [The Athletic, 7 March].

Given the turmoil in Turin that has essentially sent McKennie to Elland Road in the first place, they are sure to need to recoup that amount for a player who has shown flashes since his return from Goodison Park without fully convincing – 10 Serie A goals in 52 appearances – but how strong his market is remains to be seen.

Dusan Vlahovic is also potentially on the move and is sure to have suitors willing to pay a great deal more, so if Juventus really wanted to test the Whites’ resolve over Gnonto they could well have the spending power to turn heads, but the two players are absolutely not like for like replacements, with West Ham’s Gianluca Scamacca eyed to replace the Serb [Gazzetta, 15 March].

It is a complicated set of moving parts as the end of the season approaches, but given his startling rise to prominence Leeds United should not give any ground on their teenage star without a fight regardless of who else may or may not be involved.

In other Leeds United news, data analytics has tipped a major summer signing to be a target for another European giant to replace a departing star.

Be sure to follow MOT Leeds News on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with all the latest, breaking news from Elland Road.