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Should Everton be pursuing Wilfried Gnonto?

Does the Italian international check all the boxes for a Toffees’ side that is desperate for goals

Netherlands v Italy - UEFA Nations League 2022/23 Third-place match Photo by Matteo Ciambelli/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

After the season ended and the line was drawn on the relegation fight, Everton were above and Leeds United were below the line. The impact of the line meant that Everton were safe but Leeds were vulnerable because of the contracts that many of the players had signed ensured the survival of the club by having low transfer fees if the club were relegated so that they could dispense of the larger wages.

In recent weeks the Toffees have been linked with several Leeds players including Jack Harrison, Crysencio Summerville, Tyler Adams, Rodrigo and Wilfried Gnonto. Out of these, the link to Gnonto has been appearing over and over in the many articles that are published during this silly season for the transfer market.

Would this be a good signing? Let’s look into this potential transfer for Everton.

Everton FC v Leeds United - Premier League
Willy Gnonto of Leeds United warming up with Tyler Adams and Patrick Bamford
Photo by Pat Scaasi/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images


Willy Gnonto is a 19 year old youth product of Inter Milan’s academy who started his professional career with Swiss club Zürich in 2020. He made 65 appearances for the club and won the Swiss Super league title before moving to Leeds United on a five year deal.

Gnonto was born in Verbania, Italy and has represented his country at all levels up to the senior team where he became Italy’s youngest goalscorer in their Nations League match against Germany. He is currently playing in the U21 Euros and scored his first goal of the tournament against Switzerland.


This season, Gnonto has played wide on the left for most of the games that he played although the above video shows that he can move centrally when required and as a right footed player he can comfortably slot in on the right. Upon his arrival at Leeds, he struggled to get in the team but after strong substitute appearances against Tottenham and West Ham, he was given the chance to start seven games which showed his potential. As the season progressed, the relegation battle intensified and Sam Allardyce took control of the team, which saw Gnonto’s time significantly reduced.

Gnonto ended the season with two goals and four assists but was was second in expected assists per 90 for the team and fourth for successful dribbles with a success rate of 33%.

Interestingly, his most consistent statistics are found in his defensive abilities where he ranks highly in tackles, tackles won, blocks and passes blocked. Sean Dyche would see both sets of data and know that he can play at both ends of the pitch which suits his needs.


Currently, Transfer Market lists Gnonto’s value at £15.5M but the relegation clause in his contract lessens that value considerably. Leeds paid around £5m to sign him last summer, which was seen as a bargain at the time. But, according to Ancillo Canepa, the president of Zurich, they included a substantial sell-on clause in deal. As a result, Leeds are more than happy to sell him to reduce their wage bill but also to keep the fee that they must give to Zurich low.

Leeds are hoping that they can keep the Italian but the benefits for Everton and other teams to scoop him up are significant. His current salary of £20,000 per week would be a welcome respite for Everton considering the inflated salaries that are currently being paid. Only Jarrad Branthwaite and Joao Virginia would have lower paydays.

Leeds United v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Potential of Transfer

Chances of it happening: 60%
Do I want it to happen: 80%
Do we need it to happen: 75%

According to Gazzetta dello Sport (via Sport Witness), Everton are attempting to sign Gnonto from Leeds this summer and they would like to get the deal done quickly. With Gnonto currently away at the Euro Under-21 Championships, his representation reportedly wants to focus on international matters for now (Daily Express).

Everton want Gnonto immediately as they look to bolster their attack. Also, recent reports are suggesting that Italian club Fiorentina have expressed an interest in engaging in a player swap deal with Leeds United as a way to sign him so there is competition.

This could be a solid addition to the squad. However, Everton continue to struggle with the Financial Fair Play guidelines. If there are limited funds available, there is a greater need for a striker. Dominic Calvert Lewin has struggled to stay fit and Neal Maupay has not shown that he can lead the line on his own. There needs to be greater depth in the forward line and the addition of a proven goal scorer at this level is needed.

Switzerland v Italy - UEFA Under-21 EURO 2023 Photo by Flaviu Buboi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Does Wilfried Gnonto meet that requirement? No, he is only 5’7” and could not lead the line on his own. Also, he duplicates the service that is being given by Dwight McNeil on the left side? I don’t think that we have the resources to double up on the left side when we have such a huge need down the middle.

Final Thoughts

This is a very difficult time to give the thumbs up to one player over another without having a better sense of where we are financially. Are we selling to buy? Are we selling to stay within the FFP rules like we were last year and in January? As we get rid of high earning players, will there be room to get a player like Gnonto without changing our overall financial position? If it is the latter then Gnonto would give us another option up front that clearly has many attributes that would benefit the team going forward. He is young, pacey, confident and value for money which may be the biggest selling feature.