It’s been slow going in the Romaverse recently (or it at least feels like that as a staff writer for Chiesa Di Totti). Inter loss notwithstanding, Roma’s been chugging along, doing the things the squad is supposed to do against smaller sides. Simultaneously, it appears that the Friedkin Group has decided to hold off on making any long-term decisions for the club until they have a better sense of whether or not José Mourinho can lead this squad to a place in the 2024/2025 Champions League. That’s undoubtedly the smart move, but it does mean that with Mourinho and Tiago Pinto’s futures up in the air, there are just fewer rumors to write home about.
There’s been one interesting exception to that rule in recent days, though, as the British media is reporting that Italian international Wilfried Gnonto is a target for both Roma and Lazio in the event that he leaves Leeds United:
With Nicolò Zaniolo’s career in a tailspin, Gnonto has emerged as the Azzurri’s most intriguing young forward prospect over the last few seasons. The 19-year-old winger was an Inter Milan youth product who then moved to Swiss Super League team FC Zurich in 2020; he impressed enough in Switzerland that Leeds then signed him for a bonus-heavy £3.8 million transfer in 2022.
Since that 2022 signing, Gnonto has been pretty impressive, garnering himself Azzurri call-ups despite Leeds falling into the Championship. That relegation from the Premier League is why Gnonto is looking for greener pastures, as even in the summer, he was attempting to move on from The Whites. Enter Roma and Lazio, who are now reported to be in contention for his signature.
While reports suggest that Roma may focus their financial firepower on a Chris Smalling replacement or Brazilian attacker Marcos Leonardo this January, which would leave Gnonto to Lazio, I’m certainly intrigued by this potential signing. Stephan El Shaarawy certainly isn’t getting any younger, and in many ways, Gnonto could be a long-term replacement for SES’s role in the side.
The reported transfer fee of €18-25 million would be a big deal for the Giallorossi, particularly as a January move, but it’s also the kind of long-term investment that could pay dividends for the club. It’s not every day that a teenager with 13 appearances for the Azzurri becomes available on the transfer market; even if Mourinho and Tiago Pinto’s futures in Rome are up in the air, it’s only good due diligence that they are sniffing around a potential Gnonto signing.
Whether it’s a Wilfried Gnonto signing, a Marcos Leonardo sign-and-loan, or some other move entirely (I’m still holding out hope for a Tommaso Baldanzi signing), we’ll be sure to keep you updated here as we near the start of the winter mercato.