By George Overhill
Willy Gnonto is “definitely” wanted at Everton on deadline day and the club are “doing their utmost” to sign him, according to Alan Irwin.
Speaking live on Sky Sports News the journalist said that Leeds United are “playing hardball” over letting the 19-year-old attacker go, with Southampton’s Kamaldeen Sulemana the alternative if the Toffees can’t get the Italian, on a day that looks set to get “busy” as the deadline approaches.
Everton have chased Gnonto from Elland Road for most of the summer and have had multiple bids rejected up to at least £25million earlier in the window [The Athletic, 18 August], but they are now making another late push to bring him in.
Irwin said (2.53pm): “I suspect it could get busy for Everton late on because Sean Dyche was quick to point out yesterday that if Everton were to bring in players this deadline day it would depend on outgoings.
“They are looking in wide areas and Wilfried Gnonto is definitely a target, but Leeds are playing hardball. Of course he faced disciplinary action from his club Leeds when he refused to play, handed in a transfer request, but he’s back in the fold…
“Leeds want to keep him. Everton are doing their utmost to try and prise him away and bring him here to Goodison Park, and also in the wide areas if they can’t do a deal for Gnonto then Kamaldeen Sulemana from Southampton would be a target.
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“The Ghanian international is still only 21 but Southampton only bought him for £22m in January so he would cost substantial funds to prize him away.”
It looked like this move had failed when Gnonto was brought back into the Leeds side by Daniel Farke having apparently cleared the air in Yorkshire.
Once Everton then spent around £25m to land Beto from Udinese it seemed that it would be impossible financially as well.
But clearly the Toffees think the move is still doable if they are continuing to put so much effort into it despite the Whites being so unwilling to do a deal.
Unless either Gnonto or Kamaldeen are available on some sort of loan arrangement this is going to be another hefty transfer fee to commit to.
And while there aren’t any payments due for Beto until next year [i News, 31 August] it would mean the club have to find a way to pay up down the line for two pricey attackers without much budget to speak of.
If there is a way to do it then the squad, which has so far failed to even score a goal across three Premier League defeats, would definitely benefit, but amid well documented financial pressures it would be a surprise development.
In other Everton news, a Manchester City star has emerged as a deadline day target for the Toffees and he could be allowed to leave.
By George Overhill