Luciano Vietto

All You Need To Know About Southampton target, Luciano Vietto

Southampton is reportedly interested in Atletico Madrid striker, Luciano Vietto. New boss, Mauricio Pellegrino, is understood to be an ardent fan of his compatriot since their time in the Argentine Primera Division.

While Pellegrino was gently learning the ropes at Estudiantes, Vietto, a promising teen at that time, was busy taking the country’s top flight by storm while at Racing Club. And in spite choosing distinct paths to the top, it seems the pair could finally be united after five years, certainly not in their homeland, but in the prestigious Premier League.

Here’s what we know about the 23-year-old.

Humble beginnings

Vietto was born in the small town of Balneario located in the province of Cordoba in central Argentina. In a country obsessed with football, his talent was spotted at a very tender age by Independiente Balnearia whom he joined at seven and played there for eight years.

Exploits at Racing Club

At age 15, Vietto moved to top Argentine side, Estudiantes but was released two years later. Just when the dream of playing professional football appeared to be slipping away, the youngster was rescued by Racing in 2010.

It was here that Vietto first came in contact with then-Racing manager Diego Simeone who showed much faith in the youngster. Over the next three years, the Argentine striker put in impressive performances for Racing, ultimately culminating in a five-year contract with Spanish club Villareal CF. “I will be grateful to him for the rest of my life,” Vietto told LFP about Simeone.

Spanish sojourn

On arriving the Spanish La Liga, Vietto immediately became a hit for the Yellow Submarine. His tally of 12 goals in 32 games in the 2014/15 season made him the player with the most goals aged 23 and below. More impressive was the fact that he notched five of those from the bench. Such impressive displays meant it was only a matter of time before the big guns come calling.

Reunion with Simeone

And that happened sooner than expected. Simeone had to turn to his compatriot after Mario Mandzukic left Rojiblancos for Juventus. Their reunion had all the making of a classic fairytale story due to their earlier successes together. But shockingly, the Argentine forward failed to make enough of an impact at Vicente Calderón, scoring just one league goal.

However, a loan move to Sevilla appears to have revived his already crumbling stock. Vietto proved he could still deliver the goods by notching 14 goals while lacing five more for his teammates in just 21 starts. Perhaps a return to Atleti is totally off the mind of the 23-year-old, hence another loan deal.

What he brings to the table

Vietto is well-known for his goalscoring prowess but it’s his savvy to drop deep or play as a poacher that has really stood out.  “He scores goals though he’s not a natural-born scorer,” Simeone told Marca. “I see him as very similar to David Villa at the beginning of his career, although without as much goal threat, but with the ability to work for the team, float between the lines and link up with the midfield and attack.”

Vietto is also blessed with supreme powers of mobility – standing at 5’ 8” with a relatively low centre of gravity, he maximises the use of his high acceleration, agility and top speed to wriggle out of narrow spaces.

Indeed, Saints are spoilt for choice, with Charlie Austin, Manolo Gabbiadini, Shane Long and Sam Gallagher making up a well-stocked attack.  Add the likes of Dušan Tadić, Sofiane Boufal and Nathan Redmond to the mix, then it is around seven players jostling for two slots. Nonetheless, Vietto’s youth, exposure and pedigree give him a slight edge over the rest.

About the Author Toby Prince

An unrepentant soccer freak other freaks call geek.

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