Wilfried Gnonto: Zurich wonderkid set to face Hearts at Tynecastle as Leeds boss speaks on signing Italian
Hearts are likely to face Zurich’s Italian wonderkid Wilfried Gnonto next week despite transfer speculation surrounding the teenager.
Gnonto has been heavily linked with English Premier League club Leeds United and the transfer talk resulted in the 18-year-old being used from the bench in Thursday night’s Europa League play-off round first leg tie between Zurich and Hearts, which the Swiss won 2-1.
Gnonto still made a strong impression in 20 minutes he was on the pitch and he is expected to travel to Scotland next week despite Leeds boss Jesse Marsch admitting interest in the player.
"We know him, we think highly of him,” Marsch said of Gnonto. “We're active, we have time and I think there'll be movement (in the market). Some dominoes will fall and we have to be ready."
Marsch went on to say that Gnonto would not be “EPL ready” if he was to sign and that a deal is not certain to happen in this transfer window.
Gnonto became the youngest player to score for Italy earlier this year and is regarded as one of Europe’s rising stars.
Hearts welcome Zurich to Tynecastle on Thursday night looking to overcome the 2-1 deficit. Despite taking the lead through a Lawrence Shankland penalty, the Swiss responded via strikes from Adrian Guerrero and Blerim Dzemaili.
The winner of the tie will progress to the group stages of the Europa League, with the losers dropping down into the group stages of the Europa Conference League.
Hearts are in cinch Premiership action before then when they take on Celtic in Glasgow on Sunday, while Zurich are away to Cham in the Swiss Cup.