Willy Gnonto has described his move to Leeds United as “beautiful” in an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera this week – despite the last-minute nature of his arrival on deadline day. Gnonto joined for a bargain £4m.

Since then, the 19-year-old has become a crucial part of a Leeds side that is fighting against relegation. As the table currently suggests, Leeds are winning that fight – but only just. Saturday’s win saw Leeds go from 19th, to 14th.

Gnonto has become a fan favourite. Playing 20 times at senior level, the eight-time Italy star has scored four goals – including one at Old Trafford against Manchester United, and against Cardiff – a Paolo Di Canio-like scissor kick.

He also has three assists, the third of which came for Jack Harrison on Saturday in the 4-2 win over Wolves. Now with the Italy Team preparing to face England, Gnonto was quizzed about his move to Leeds and playing in England.

Italy Training Session & Press Conference
Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images

“It all happened very quickly. I didn’t have time to realise. But it was a beautiful emotion. The impact was good on a personal level, the team is experiencing some ups and downs, but it seems like a dream to me,” the Leeds star said.

“I come from Baveno and I never expected one day to get to the Premier League or to receive compliments from such players. I live everything with great pride and I always try to commit myself to improve,” Gnonto continued.

Gnonto describes move to Leeds as beautiful despite deadline-day rush

Leeds bought Gnonto having missed out on moves for Cody Gakpo and Bamba Dieng. Clearly, Gakpo would have been a stunning signing – but even last summer, it would have been a surprise to see Leeds get a deal done for him.

Dieng – the least said, the better. Leeds had planned to sign Gnonto in January, or even the coming summer. But, with Dan James pushing for a loan, a replacement was required. In came Gnonto. Leeds may have felt, prematurely.

But he has quickly proved them wrong, if that was the case. Certainly, he will have surprised the board, Victor Orta and the coaching staff by how quickly he has settled. Maturity of a 35-year-old, in a teenager – but the quality, too.

Italy Training Session & Press Conference
Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images

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