Harrison done, Gnonto next for Everton?

Jainil Shah
By Jainil Shah
6 Min Read

Everton have secured the services of Jack Harrison from Leeds United on a season-long loan and the acquisition of the 26-year-old is expected to provide additional depth to the squad in that flank position. While The Toffees would hope to turn this one into a permanent deal, the current agreement is a straightforward loan.

Harrison is nursing a hip injury that kept him out of pre-season and Leeds’ opening games. Although, the former Manchester City ace is expected to be fit and available for selection shortly following the international break.

And his versatility in being able to play on both the left and right wings offers tactical flexibility for Sean Dyche. However, concerns arise regarding his injury, especially given Everton’s recent history of injury woes. While the loan agreement might not involve a fee, Everton must ensure Harrison’s fitness is fully addressed before he returns to the pitch.

The fact that Everton has been interested in him for a while showcases the club’s strategic approach to transfers and additionally, his age and performance trajectory indicate that he’s entering his prime years, making this move a potential boost for Everton’s attacking options.

Now that Harrison is sealed, there is time to move on… and a certain another from Leeds comes to mind – Wilfried Gnonto.

Wilfried Gnonto & Everton’s relentless pursuit of him

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If you have been following Everton transfer news for a while, you’d be well accustomed to how Leeds doesn’t want to sell Gnonto – but this relentless pursuit from the Blues from Merseyside for the Italian tells me they might just have to let him… But why does Dyche so badly wants to secure Wilfried Gnonto?

Wilfried Gnonto and Jack Harrison played kind of a similar role at Leeds, and having already signed the latter raises a few eyebrows into how will Wilf fit in at Goodison Park. Let’s get into his individual traits:

When you pick up the Premier League stats from last season for left-wingers, Wilfried Gnonto stands out almost everywhere.

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The ability to dribble is Gnonto’s distinguishing characteristic as a player. During the 2022–2023 season, he completed approximately 6.58 dribbles per game on average, that placed him fourth overall among left-wingers in England’s top division. His efforts stand out, despite the fact that other players viz. Demarai Gray (6th), Jack Harrison (9th), and Dwight McNeil (10th) are also present in the top 10 for dribbles. On the other hand, the Italian’s successful dribbles per game of 3.97 put him in ninth place, behind players such as Gray (4.52), Harrison (4.09), and McNeil (4.07).

Gnonto’s rate of attacking actions per ninety minutes, which is 5.08, also places him in a favorable situation, as he ranks eighth in this category. This suggests that he is willing to contribute in an attacking capacity. However, there is an opportunity for development as he is in the middle of the pack in this regard, falling between Gray (5.24) and McNeil (4.9).

With 0.2 assists per game, Gnonto is tied for ninth place in the Premier League with Harrison and Jordan Ayew. Both of these players have the same number of assists as Gnonto. It’s important to note that none of Everton’s players made it into the top 10 here.

It is clear that Gnonto is prepared to contribute defensively and do the job off the ball. When you compare his defensive actions to other left-wingers, his rate of defensive actions per 90 minutes (8.14) places him in ninth position – this is in line with the tactical requirements that wide players fulfil for Sean Dyche’s team to function defensively. On the other hand, he ranks 13th for successful defensive actions with a score of 5.01. There is potential for him to improve.

Gnonto’s position on the wing necessitates his responsibility of delivering crosses into the box. His crossing statistics demonstrate consistency, averaging 2.67 successful crosses per 90 minutes which places him in the eighth position among all players in the league. Although he may not be the top leader in this category, his contribution still holds considerable importance.

Now you have to remember he is still young and has soo much to give. Losing Gray means Everton do need someone who can stick the ball to the boots and travel from the flanks and everytime you watch Wilf Gnonto, it looks like he is about to make something happen and let me tell you – Goodison enjoys such players. And he may just become a favourite as soon as he starts being himself in donning that Everton badge… if he were to sign.

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