Leeds United target Wilfried Gnoto was benched on Thursday because of transfer speculation, according to The Scotsman (via MOT Leeds News).
Gnoto’s FC Zurich faced Scottish Premiership side Hearts on Thursday in the first leg of their Europa League qualifying play off tie.
The Italian had started three of his side’s first five domestic games, and three of their four European ties, but was restricted to a 20-minute cameo in the 2-1 victory.
Leeds manager Jesse Marsch has publicly admitted that the Whites are admirers of Gnoto and may well pursue a deal.
The newspaper report on Saturday that Gnoto was left on the bench at the Stadion Letzigrund as a result of ‘transfer talk’.
He’s still expected to travel to Scotland next week for the second leg, and is ‘highly likely’ to play a part.
Leeds fans probably didn’t expect to be invested in Zurich’s team selection for their cup tie against SC Cham on Sunday, but a few may be keeping their eyes peeled now.
If Gnoto is being left out of the side, it could suggest he’s not in the right frame of mind to start, perhaps because his head has been turned.
Should he get the opportunity to play, the 18-year-old will hope to demonstrate what he’s capable of.
National team boss Roberto Mancini has already billed him a ‘quality’ player who’s ‘very quick’.
After he netted ten goals and provided five assists in just 1,532 minutes of action last season (a direct contribution every 102 minutes), he’s established himself as one of the biggest teenage talents to watch in Europe.
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