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Gnonto refuses to play but Adams stays at Leeds for now
Saturday, 12th Aug 2023 08:16 by Tim Whelan

At the end of a busy week on the transfer front, Gnonto is still refusing to play for Leeds and won’t be facing Birmingham City today, while Tyler Adams' prospective move to Chelsea has fallen through.

Eyebrows were raised on Wednesday night when Gnonto was said to be ‘unavailable’ for our League Cup tie, which came as a bit of a surprise when he had seemed to be fully committed to the cause in our first game against Cardiff. But he is still refusing to play in his efforts to force a move, and the club have now posted a statement on the official website.

“Earlier this week, Willy Gnonto and his representatives were informed by the club that he would not be sold this summer. Following those conversations, Willy felt he was unable to play in Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup tie with Shrewsbury Town.

“Despite training for the last two days, Willy has informed Daniel Farke that he still does not feel able to play this weekend and has not traveled to Birmingham for the game tomorrow. This is now an internal disciplinary matter and the club will make no further comment, other than to reiterate that Willy Gnonto is not for sale.”

Unlike several other recent signings, Gnonto didn’t have any release clause in his contract, presumably because he was thought to be an under-21s player at the time he joined us almost a year ago. But he is now using the Wöber excuse for insisting on a move, claiming his place in his national would be in jeopardy if he played in the second tier, even though the standard in the Championship is higher than many of Europe’s top divisions.

Leeds have already rebuffed Everton’s advances, but Aston Villa have now been mentioned as a club who might be interested in his services. The player himself is said to prefer a move to Freiburg in the south-west of Germany. But he won’t be anywhere if Leeds refuse to budge. Which need to do to discourage other players trying the same trick, but it won’t do us much good to have neither the player or a transfer fee.

Tyler Adams is one of the players who does have a release clause in his contract, and Chelsea thought they had triggered it by offering the stipulated amount of £20m. But last night we learned that the move is off as “the two parties failed to reach an agreement” according to Sky Sports. It’s not clear which two parties, as it could be that Adams didn’t agree personal terms with Chelsea, or whether it was down to the two clubs failing to get the deal over the line.

It’s been reported that the Stamford Bridge mob wanted to spread the fee over two years to meet the demands of FFP after their mad spending last season, but this wasn’t acceptable to Leeds, as we need the money now for our own squad building. Chelsea’s FFP issues aren’t our problem. But it’s still unlikely that Adams will be playing for Leeds once he's back from injury, as Brighton are likely to make a bid once they have sold Moises Caicedo.

Even before yesterday it had already been a dramatic week on the transfer front, starting with the loan signing of 25-year-old Welsh international Joe Rodon. He will give us another option in the flagging central defensive section of the squad, and could well make his debut at Birmingham. He has made 15 league appearances for Spurs since joining them from Swansea in October 2020 and spent last season on loan with French club Rennes.

He’s a ball-playing centre half and he thinks Farke’s style of building from the back will suit him, as he told the official site. “I know the history and it is a massive club, I can’t wait to get started and I am excited for the season ahead. I just feel like the project and the way the manager wants to play, it’s a great time for me to play here and improve. When Leeds came calling it was very hard for me to turn that down. I am really looking forward to the season ahead and being successful.”

It made a pleasant change to hear from someone who actually wants to play for the club, but unfortunately that didn’t include our other prospective defensive recruit, Max Aarons. He was already in Leeds for a medical, before his move was hijacked by Bournemouth. Apparently the chance to play in the Premier League is all that matters, regardless of the size of the club.

Which was another unpleasant surprise, given his previous time playing for Farke at Norwich, when he was a key player in both their promotion campaigns. But many fans have questioned whether another right back is our priority anyway, with young Drameh available. If we can sign the left back we so obviously need, then Byram could switch flanks to give us another option on the right.

We’ve got another three weeks of this transfer window to look forward to, and we can but hope that we end up with a decent squad at the end of it all.


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