By Craig Scott

1st Apr, 2023 | 11:40am

Phil Hay shares what he's been told about Wilfried Gnonto exit from Leeds United amid latest Serie A speculation

Phil Hay admits more and more clubs in Serie A are becoming aware of Wilfried Gnonto’s performances at Leeds United this season amid speculation surrounding the Italy international’s future at Elland Road.

It was reported by 90min on 22 March that Juventus, AS Roma, AC Milan, Napoli and Atalanta have all been keeping tabs on Gnonto, 19, in recent weeks and the forward himself is said to be open to a move to Serie A.

The Athletic journalist Hay reports that Italian clubs were aware of Gnonto in the summer before Leeds signed him from FC Zurich but none of them really firmed up their interest.

Unfortunately for Leeds, it may be different now.

Speaking on the latest episode of The Phil Hay Show on Friday (31 March, 19m26s), Hay said: “We wrote about Gnonto earlier this week and it’s been quite noticeable that little by little, Serie A has started to pick up on Gnonto.

“More and more, I’m aware of people looking at him and thinking given he’s an Italy international and he’s very, very talented with a lot of potential.

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“I honestly think he’s a clever player, Gnonto. He oozes intelligence. Aside from the pace and the dynamism, he just seems really bright. He speaks a lot of languages, he’s a well-educated guy.

“But normal people are thinking, ‘why did no one in Italy bother both with this lad?’.

“He was around about £4million to sign from Zurich.

“I’m not saying nobody else was interested but nobody else was interested enough.

“Leeds were under the impression the most competition they was going to face was from Antwerp in Belgium. And while people who know Gnonto have told us that yes, Italian clubs were aware of him, nobody in Italy got particularly busy with it at all.

“The City Football Group talked about taking him to France to Ligue 1 but Gnonto didn’t seem particularly keen on that.

“To cut a long story short, there just wasn’t much competition.”

Flash in the pan?

Raphinha was only at Leeds for two seasons but it seems Gnonto’s stay at Elland Road could be even more short-lived.

If we’re relegated from the Premier League, it’s pretty much nailed on that the Italian forward will leave Elland Road because there’s no way an Italy international will be sticking around to play against Plymouth in the Championship.

But if we stay up, we’ve got no doubt that there’ll be somewhat of a bidding war for Gnonto, with Leeds holding all the power.

Fortunately, Victor Orta managed to get the forward tied down to a five-year deal when he joined from FC Zurich in September 2022.

It means that Leeds United won’t be forced into cashing in on the youngster, who’s taken the Premier League by storm since the autumn when he finally broke into Jesse Marsch’s first-team squad.

Javi Gracia unfortunately hasn’t seen as much value in starting Gnonto lately and that could sway his decision when it comes to the summer.

But if a top Serie A club does come in, it may be very difficult to convince the player to stay on.

In other Leeds United news, a return date for Stuart Dallas has finally been mooted.

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