Leeds United announced the surprise signing of Italy international wonderkid forward Wilfried Gnonto from FC Zürich on its official website.
According to an official statement from Leeds United, Gnonto has agreed to a five-year deal with the club which runs until the summer of 2027.
In addition, according to Sky Sport‘s renowned Italian journalist Gianluca Di Marzio, Gnonto’s transfer fee is €4.5million with an undisclosed amount of add-ons.
Highly-rated Gnonto, who is only 18 years old, was born in Verbania, Italy on November 5, 2003. He is 1.66 meters tall and has dual nationality of Italy and Cote d’Ivoire.
Gnonto joined Serie A giants Inter Milan’s youth training system at the age of 9. He was already extremely talented at since his early days. In 2018, he was directly included into the club’s U21s side and reserve team, as well as leading the U17s side to win the Italian Youth League and the Italian Youth Super Cup double.
However, due to the fierce competition for Inter Milan‘s striking options, Gnonto chose to leave and join Zürich after his contract expired in the summer of 2020.
Gnonto made his first-team debut in October of the same year, where he assisted his teammate in the same game. At the end of May of the following year, he scored his first-team debut in the Swiss Super League.
Last season, Gnonto made a total of 33 times for Zürich in all competitions, scoring 8 goals and making 3 assists, leading his team to Swiss Super League glory.
At the international level, Gnonto has been called up to the Italian senior national team since May this year, and made his debut in the Azzuri‘s UEFA Nations League home fixture against Germany in June where he assisted Lorenzo Pellegrini after coming off the bench. A week later, he scored his first national team goal in the away game against the same opponent and broke the record to become Italy’s youngest ever national team goalscorer in the history.
It is worth mentioning that because the experience and speed of Gnonto’s rise is very similar to that of another his compatriot with African decent “Super Mario” Balotelli, who was once regarded as a wonderkid by the world, Gnonto was also called “The New Mario Balotelli” across Europe. Hopefully his career won’t be as disappointing as the latter however.