The very young striker (18) of the Swiss champions made an immediate impression in the game against Italy on Saturday. Something that inspires the people of Zurich.
Not at all sure if we will see Wilfried Gnonto in the FC Zurich jersey again next month. Despite the prospect of playing Europe and, most importantly, qualifying for the Champions League, the Super League may have become too small a theater for the young and promising Italian forward.
More than a successful debut
As of Saturday night, Gnonto’s life and career may have turned 180 degrees. The man from Zurich, who was called up to the Squadra azzurra for the first time by Roberto Mancini, was allowed to play around twenty minutes against Germany on the first day of the Nations League in Bologna. He came on for Politano and made an immediate impression sending a crucial pass to Pellegrini.
And even if the Germans equalized five minutes later, Gnonto said he was the man of the game Gazzetta dello Sport. For the vast majority of Tifosi, the FCZ player was also a very pleasant and unexpected discovery. “Not only does he know how to do everything, Mancini analyzed after the meeting, but above all he is very fast. He has important qualities that our other strikers don’t have. He still has a lot of room for improvement.”
Like Roman Nicolò Zaniolo before him, Gnonto has the rare distinction of not having played a single minute in Serie A at the time of his major international debut. And with good reason, as he landed at FC Zurich in 2020 at the age of just 16. Trained at Inter, he then decided to leave Italy and this club, which did not offer him the professional contract he had hoped for.
A heartbreak, then, for this small (170 cm) but explosive striker, born in Baveno near Verbania to Ivorian parents, who realized his first big dream by joining Inter Milan at a very young age.
A double against LS
A disappointment that turns into a blessing on the banks of the Limmat. After a 2020-2021 training session between the Promotion League with the Zurich M21s and the Super League (1 goal and four assists in 26 appearances), Wilfried Gnonto is gradually taking over the lead and taking responsibility for André Breitenreiter. After scoring his first goal against St. Gallen at the end of August, he was in the starting XI for the first time on October 3 against FC Sion. But it’s only two months later that the Italian will really make an impression. Against LS at the Tuilière Stadium, he scored a brace in the first half hour that eliminated his opponent and cemented Zurich’s lead just before the winter break.
International M19, the Italian seen by Breitenreiter as more of a wild card than an indispensable defending champion, has been using every opportunity this spring to stir up trouble in opposition defences. His contribution to the national title is so great that the Zurich fans dedicated one of their songs to him.
Of course, this first successful appearance with the Azzurri deserves a confirmation. Gnonto may already have the opportunity to do so against Hungary on Tuesday. An incredible chance to make himself known at the highest level at such a young age, which he certainly would not have had if Italy had qualified for the World Cup in Qatar. The makeover wanted by Roberto Mancini from this Nations Cup therefore allows Gnonto to put himself in the window and hope his club to carry out a nice financial operation this summer.
Estimated value: 6 million
The idea of seeing the forward continue in the Super League is extremely tenuous now. For the simple and good reason that Gnonto will end his contract with FCZ in twelve months and it seems very unlikely that he will extend his contract with the Swiss champions in the coming weeks. And the idea of losing his jewel in June 2023 without transfer compensation does not even cross Ancillo Canepa’s mind.
Especially since the value of his player on the Transfermarkt side is now estimated at around six million euros. In the best-case scenario for Breitenreiter’s successor, one could imagine Gnonto playing the first qualifying rounds for the Champions League with Zürich before heading abroad at the end of August. With a double jackpot for the Zurich President and a return to Italy through the front door for the player?
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