Wilfried Gnonto's Leeds United future takes surprise new twist

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Leeds United are set to make a decision over the future of the Italy international.

Leeds United have no intention of selling Italian international Willy Gnonto in the January transfer window and hope to come to terms on an improved contract with him sooner rather than later.

The 20-year-old forward moved to Elland Road from Swiss side FC Zurich in a £3.8m deal in September 2022 but took his time to settle in a Whites side that were struggling to find form and were facing up to a battle against relegation from the Premier League.th

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As an ultimately unsuccessful battle against the drop was played out, Gnonto began to come to the fore and a return of two goals and four assists in 28 appearances in all competitions don't tell the true story of how the youngster provided the Whites faithful with a rare positive in a season that ended in a return to the Championship. However, Gnonto hit the headlines for the wrong reasons as new manager Daniel Farke prepared his side to challenge for an immediate return to the top tier after he submitted a transfer request amid reports of interest from the likes of Inter Milan, Lazio, Everton and West Ham United.

Despite his demands, the Leeds hierarchy remained firm and insisted a sale would not take place - although disciplinary action was taken against Gnonto after he refused to play in a home defeat against Birmingham City in an ill-advised attempt to force through a move away from Elland Road. The forward returned to training in time to feature and score in an impressive 4-3 win at Ipswich Town just under a fortnight later as Farke gave an insight into why he had given Gnonto a 'second chance' to impress.

He told BBC Radio Leeds: "At the beginning of the week he came to see me and explained his situation and he apologised that he had made a mistake. He asked if he could be involved in team training and he is 100% ready. My decision was to give him a second chance and if he impresses in training he will earn a spot in the squad. I'm always open to give a young player a second chance, but he knows that there is no third chance. The ball is in his court now."

However, Gnonto has been forced to play second fiddle to the likes of Dan James and Crysencio Summerville as the wing duo provide the created spark that is firing what Farke will hope will be a successful bid for his third promotion into the Premier League. Following Sunday's dramatic win against Preston North End, Gnonto has made just nine starts in all competitions this season and has provided just one goal and one assist during the opening half of the campaign - although a number of injury niggles and a foot operation have also hampered his attempts to earn a regular place in Farke's starting eleven.

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There have been some suggestions Gnonto could be allowed to leave the club during the January transfer window - but it now seems increasingly likely he will extend his time at Elland Road as an agreement over a new deal draws near. As also reported by The Athletic, The YEP understands terms over an improved contract will be agreed sooner rather than later and Gnonto will be handed an opportunity to play his part in his side's promotion bid.

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