Willy Gnonto has told JD Sports’ XL Boot Room podcast that he was “scared” at one point over his move to Leeds United collapsing with the deadline close – and that he was told to go to the airport, only to then be told to go home.

Gnonto, 19, has become a fan favourite at Leeds after joining the club for an initial fee of £4.5m from Zurich. Playing 25 times for the club’s first team, he has had a hand in eight goals. Scoring at Old Trafford, even, during a 2-2 draw.

The winger, who is considered a regular in Roberto Mancini’s Italy squad, has been linked with some of Europe’s top clubs due to his superb form on the left flank. Even if, Javi Gracia chose not to play the speedster on a regular basis.

Gnonto was speaking on a podcast released this week about his move to Leeds, which came about on deadline day last summer. Leeds failed to sign Cody Gakpo and Bamba Dieng before signing Gnonto – and this is how it went.

“I had training in the morning, went home and slept that afternoon. I woke up and was watching television, and they called me and said because you are going tomorrow. They ended like this. I was waiting at home with my parents.

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“Then they called us, they said go to the airport because you are going tonight. We got to the airport and told us, go home. it’s not ready yet. So, I was scared because I was not going anymore. I was a bit sad. Then, 11pm in the night.

“They sent us emails to sign because I didn’t sign here [Leeds], I signed at home. I was signing all this stuff, emails. Different emails, signing everything. Then they said all done. Victor Orta called me, I was crying,” Gnonto continued.

“I kept saying thank you, thank you for all the work. 11pm in Switzerland was 10pm in England. I didn’t think I would come in the end but everything happened so quickly and I’m so grateful to the club for the opportunity,” he added.

Willy Gnonto scared over move to Leeds collapsing at one point

An incredible story. Thankfully for Leeds, and as Gnonto says – for himself – the move went through. Gnonto has gone on to be a rare shining light in another dismal season at Elland Road. He will be counted upon this month.

Leeds have three games to save themselves. If we stay up, you can expect to see Gnonto in a Leeds shirt next term, unless a big offer comes in for him. Relegation, and Gnonto is likely to be one of a number of players that departs.

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