Journalist Conor McGilligan has slammed the Leeds United decision to replace Daniel James with ‘fourth-choice’ option Wilfried Gnonto.
There was plenty of drama for the Whites on transfer deadline day as they saw their Welsh winger leave on loan for the season to a Premier League rival, while they then brought in a new man to fill the void.
Indeed, James went off to Fulham and Gnonto arrived from FC Zurich on a five-year deal. However, it’s no secret that Leeds wanted some other names – such as Cody Gakpo and Bamba Dieng – but failed with their attempts.
And while McGilligan was ‘alright’ with James leaving, he expressed his concern about him being replaced by someone that wasn’t really viewed as a top target.
While speaking on the One Leeds Fan Channel, he actually called the choice ‘mind-boggling’: “So a lot of people were asking me about the Dan James decision. I’m alright with Dan James going and there’s been a lot of heat on it, [and with] Willy Gnonto coming in.
“I think it was a mind-boggling decision that he’s like the fourth choice and we’re bringing him in. I said on my video last time, that should have been Gakpo, it should have been Dieng.”
TIF thoughts on Wilfried Gnonto and Leeds United…
As well as chasing after the likes of Gakpo and Dieng, Leeds also spent a large chunk of the summer trying to bring in Charles De Ketelaere only for him to end up with AC Milan.
So it probably is fair to suggest, Gnonto was pretty far down the list of targets, possibly even lower than the fourth choice option, for the Whites this summer. Indeed, The Athletic claim that ‘few hours before the 11pm cut-off, attention turned back’ to signing the teen this window due to their club’s failed deal for other deals.
Even so, it’s not as though the Italian is a bad player. Indeed, still only 18 years of age he is already a senior player for his country, with one goal and one assist in his first four caps.
Still, it certainly is a bit of a risk to replace an established man like James – who has 87 Premier League appearances – and swap him with someone as unproven as Gnonto when he wasn’t the preferred replacement.