By Daniel Feliciano

14th Dec, 2022 | 10:10am

Willy Gnonto admits Victor Orta convinced him to pick Leeds United over other clubs for transfer

Willy Gnonto has revealed that Victor Orta convinced him to join Leeds United ahead of other clubs when they spoke last summer.

The Italian international was set to join Leeds in January after a deal was agreed with FC Zurich, before the Whites brought the deal forward for the summer window after failing to sign Cody Gakpo and Bamba Dieng on deadline day.

But Gnonto has revealed that he had other options and it was a chat with director of football Orta that convinced him Elland Road was the right place to be.

“Since I spoke with Victor he was just kind with me and from the beginning me and my family felt like he was part of the family,” he said, as quoted by Leeds Live (14 December). “I was sure when I chose to come to Leeds and I did not regret it.

“For me, this was the best choice for me and for my family, I just want to show it on the pitch.

“Yes [I had other transfer options], but since I spoke with Victor I was clear I wanted to come here in September or in January. I’m happy it was in September.”

Talent

There are plenty of people who don’t like Orta and would rather he went elsewhere for whatever reason, but you can’t deny that he’s good at his job.

Gnonto is the youngest Italian international striker in recent memory and his talent has clearly had an impact in England too, with Jesse Marsch admitting he’s been forced to use him earlier than expected such is his quality.

A player like that will have had plenty of eyes on them from all over the continent, and surely some huge clubs that were playing European football too, but Leeds were able to convince him this was the spot for him.

Much like Raphinha before him, he now has the platform to develop and push on before eventually leaving in a few years for a big fee, and Leeds will then go again with the next young talent they find.

But Orta deserves credit for making a young man feel at home in a foreign country enough that he chose to sign at such short notice, and now he is rewarding us with some great performances in the Premier League.

In other Leeds news, the club will struggle to convince one senior ace to stay at Elland Road in January says Phil Hay