Leeds United have got the “ok” from the FA over an ultra-late move to secure long-term target Wilfried Gnonto on deadline day, Gianluca Di Marzio reports.
After dramatically losing out to Nice when they thought they had Bamba Dieng in the bag from Marseille earlier in the day, United still let Dan James leave for Fulham on loan, raising hopes that a late, late surprise was on the cards to replace him.
That turned out to be a truly deadline-busting and incentive-heavy €4.5million agreement with FC Zurich for Gnonto, who had previously agreed personal terms, and that has reportedly been given the green light despite its late nature.
Writing on his personal Twitter account after the transfer deadline had passed on Thursday night (1 September), Sky Sports Italy reporter Di Marzio said: “Italian talent Gnonto done deal to LUFC from Zurich, last minute.
“FA’s “ok” has just arrived. €4.5m transfer fee + add-ons + % on future resale.”
The proof will be in what the teenager can contribute on the pitch, but United have managed to secure somebody to come in and add to the striker rotation.
Patrick Bamford, then Joe Gelhardt, then on Tuesday (30 August) Rodrigo, have all suffered injuries already in the early weeks of the campaign, proving that it was going to be foolish to attempt to get through a season without adding someone else.
It is a far cry from the €40million that Andrea Radrizzani was willing to shell out a few weeks ago on Charles De Ketelaere, and questions should rightly be asked about how it came down to the very last moments to land anyone.
But Gnonto has been a target for some time and it looks like having been burned so badly earlier in the day the club turned to the 18-year-old in a moment of desperation.
He is already a full Italy international at his young age, and has scored or assisted 22 times for Zurich, so there certainly looks to be a mix of quality and potential there.
But with favourite stand-in option James now a Fulham player for the rest of the season it will be interesting to see if Jesse Marsch is willing to turn to the new man, considering how he has often been hesitant to let Gelhardt loose despite being older.
It is indicative of how they may not be sold on his ability to contribute straight away that the deal is loaded with add-ons and a resale percentage, but at the very least they have another option.
Before today Gnonto may have been considered a disappointing outcome from the final day, and as Dieng arrived at the airport in France he certainly would have been.
Considering the wild way events turned out it is a relief of sorts, but the end of the transfer window has left plenty of supporters far more uneasy about the way the club is being run than they were even during the strong start to the season on the pitch.
In other Leeds United news, the club has pushed for another international striker inside the final hour of the window.