February 21, 2024

Everton’s summer window was decidedly more active than the current month, in which there has not been a sniff of any tangible activity throughout.

Kevin Thelwell knew he had to operate on a tight budget when he moved to Goodison Park, but his work in still adding the likes of Beto, Jack Harrison and Arnaut Danjuma offered a huge boost to an otherwise threadbare squad sorely lacking any real quality.

These additions offered that alongside great depth, and Sean Dyche’s side are far better off for it. However, the summer was mired by one transfer saga which dragged on throughout, and had no positive pay-out for the Toffees. After all, fans had already excited themselves for the arrival of Wilfried Gnonto; an arrival that would never come.

Did Everton nearly sign Wilfried Gnonto?

Everton’s consistent dialogue with Leeds United made for one of the most well-documented transfers of the entire summer, and yet somehow it was one that would not go through.

After all, the Whites were under no great pressure to sell, aside from the transfer request submitted by the player, and they knew that the Toffees would not be able to continue increasing their offer forever.

As such, three offers were all rejected, the highest of which reportedly totalled £25.7m, but few came close to their £30m valuation.

Dyche would later note that they came nowhere near to striking a deal. Whether the 52-year-old was merely playing down their ongoing interest, Sky Sports has now detailed a fresh blow for Everton.

Journalists Tim Thornton and Lyall Thomas noted: ‘Leeds are increasingly confident of agreeing a new contract with Wilfried Gnonto. Gnonto’s current deal expires in 2027 but he has had interest from other clubs over the last 12 months – namely from Everton.

 

Preston North End v Leeds United - Sky Bet Championship
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‘The winger has made 21 appearances in the Championship so far this season but all but five of them have been as a sub.

‘He was not in the squad at all for Sunday’s game against Preston. Nevertheless, Leeds are keen to agree new terms with the Italy international, who is still just 20 years old.’

Would Wilfried Gnonto have been a good signing for Everton?

Although it would have been an enthralling capture to add the 20-year-old to their side, Jack Harrison marks an exceptional alternative who has adapted with ease.

His hard-working intelligence has allowed him to slot in as a perfect Dyche player, yet boasts enough quality to both score and assist too. Meanwhile, Gnonto would have represented a far riskier deal, although a brighter one for the future.

 

Everton FC v Aston Villa - Premier League
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Last season saw him record eight goal contributions across all competitions, an admirable return for the teenager enjoying his first year in England and the Premier League.

But, if the young Leeds United star’s failed transfer led to the Harrison loan, and could now lead to his permanent capture, then it will not leave Dyche feeling too downhearted.

 

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