Argentine starlet Luciano Vietto has been linked with numerous top sides around Europe, but dreams of playing alongside his idol at one club in particular.
There's certainly no shortage of interest in young Argentine star Luciano Vietto, having burst onto the European football scene with aplomb since completing a move from Racing Club de Avellaneda in his homeland to Villarreal in Spain last summer.
Twenty goals in all competitions with the Yellow Submarine so far this season, has captured the attention of some of the biggest and most renowned clubs in Europe. Among them a trio of Premier League clubs including Manchester United, Arsenal (per the Daily Star) and, having been specifically named by his agent, Liverpool - as observed by the Liverpool Echo.
Despite being proud and even perhaps a little awed by the stature of clubs being linked with his name, it's clear that Vietto certainly isn't lacking in ambition and sees himself, one day, playing for one of the giants of the European game.
In an interview with Argentine sports portal Olé, the 21-year-old responded to the speculation about his future, acknowledging: "Honestly, it's something I'm taking in my stride. I'm trying only to think about Villarreal right now, about my training during the week and responding one game at a time. All these rumours I use as a motivation to keep pushing myself and improving."
However, when it comes to eventually taking the next step with a bigger club, Vietto responded with assurance: "I don't have any doubts that if I keep doing things well, everything will come for me in good time."
Although the young striker wouldn't respond directly to Olé over which of the many suitors he might prefer to join, there were more than enough subtle hints as to moves which would appeal most of all. Something that Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Bayern Munich or even Real Madrid might feel will directly impact their chances of capturing Vietto this summer.
Firstly, and always appreciative of the manager who gave him his professional début with Racing in Argentina, Vietto highlighted it was a pleasure to face his former boss this season when Villarreal beat Atletico Madrid earlier this season, thanks to one of his goals no less.
"It was very emotional. Since we were both at Racing, I hadn't had the chance of meeting up with him, so I took the opportunity to greet and thank him." Vietto then added that when it comes to Diego Simeone retaining a strong admiration for his abilities, the youngster commented: "Perhaps we'll be united again with a team, but if that doesn't happen, I'll always have the best memories of him."
The second, and perhaps most telling indication of where Vietto might be headed this summer, came when he was asked about his footballing idol, fellow Argentine countryman and Barcelona star Lionel Messi.
Having also had the opportunity to face Messi this season on the pitch, in both the Copa del Rey and in La Liga, Vietto explained: "The truth is it was a unique experience for me. I had the chance to play with him and also get to know him beyond the pitch. He's a great person and made a great gesture, gifting me his shirt. It's a memory I'll cherish for the rest of my life."
Interestingly, and given reports in Mundo Deportivo that have suggested Barcelona have highlighted Vietto as a summer target should Pedro leave the Camp Nou, asked if he can picture himself playing alongside Messi in attack, the Villarreal prodigy responded: "Everyone dreams of playing at Messi's side. It would be a dream for me, obviously."
In the immediate future, Vietto underlined that he has to keep working hard to realise his ambitions, insisting: "I want to keep growing with Villarreal and try to help the team reach as high as possible in La Liga. And, individually, keep making progress in the areas of my game, which every day go towards making me a more complete striker."
Returning to his dreams and hopes longer term however, Vietto admitted that he's already thinking beyond Villarreal, suggesting: "Being a champion with the Argentine team would be my biggest dream. After that, having the possibility of a huge European club wanting to sign me is another great goal I have."
Finally, though, and showing he has a good head on his young shoulders, Vietto knows he must keep working hard to realise his ambitions, concluding: "I know I should keep training well and look after myself with a healthy diet. I know that if I do these things, every dream I have, I'll get to achieve, God willing, of course."