Victor Orta has told The Telegraph that he believes that Wilfried Gnonto is going to be a surprise package for Leeds United following the forward’s dramatic move to Elland Road.
Gnonto’s deadline day arrival caught everyone off-guard, including Leeds. The day kicked off with Orta in The Netherlands trying to convince PSV Eindhoven to sell Cody Gakpo to the Whites.
When that fell through, Leeds turned their attention to Bamba Dieng. However, the prospect of joining Nice then convinced Dieng to snub a Premier League move when the plane was seemingly ready to take off.
Dieng would see his move to Nice also fall through before the deadline passed.
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The importance of signing a new forward increased with Leeds giving the green light to Daniel James to join Fulham on loan for the season.
The Whites were certainly in no position to demand James returns after the dramatic events of January 2019.
And with that, Leeds turned to Gnonto.
Gnonto’s move was not a complete shock. Jesse Marsch had taken the unusual step of speaking about him before his move.
But in that press conference, Marsch noted that Gnonto was not quite Premier League-ready. So the reaction to the last-gasp deal was mixed.
There is excitement about Gnonto and his potential. The 18-year-old is already an Italy international. But the fans could have been forgiven for wanting a more established name to come in.
However, Orta has issued a promising claim on Gnonto as he opened up on the dramatic deadline day events.
“We also tried with Cody Gakpo. I respect his decision not to come to Leeds. And I also put myself in the shoes of PSV and I understand they couldn’t find a replacement at the last minute. We couldn’t reach an agreement for Bamba Dieng either. In the end we decided on Wilfried Gnonto, who I think is going to surprise,” he told The Telegraph.
Gnonto going to be a surprise at Leeds
Gnonto looked bright for the under-21s in his first appearance in a Leeds shirt. And there is real hope that the deal could prove to be a real coup for the Whites.
But it did appear that the deal was in place anyway. Leeds surely cannot pretend that the plan was to bring Gnonto in this summer.
The only hope is that the bizarre events prove to be a blessing in disguise.