Luciano Vietto announced himself in style during the 2014/15 season. In his debut campaign at Villarreal after signing from Argentine outfit Racing Club, the young striker plundered 20 goals in 48 games in all competitions, drawing comparisons with a certain Sergio Aguero.
Therefore, it was little surprise when Atletico Madrid, who transformed Manchester City’s legendary hit man into one of the world’s most exciting forwards, paid around £17 million to land one of Europe’s hottest prospects two summers ago, according to ESPN.
Luciano Vietto hit 12 La Liga goals in 2014/15 and shone in the Europa League
However, it is fair to say the move hasn’t gone to plan. Looking a shadow of his former self, Vietto notched just one La Liga goal in 19 appearances for Diego Simeone’s side, albeit against city rivals Real Madrid.
And a loan spell at Sevilla last season did not yield much in the way of lethal finishing either. In 21 league games, Vietto found the back of the net six times and quickly dropped out of the starting XI.
Therefore, Southampton would be taking a risk handing Vietto an escape route from his Atletico nightmare. Sky Sports claim the Saints are in talks to sign the striker as a potential replacement for West Brom-bound Jay Rodriguez.
Worth the risk?
The question, however, is which Vietto would rock up at St Mary’s. His form in the last two years rings alarm bells loud and clear, his non-existent movement and shanked finishes making the Aguero comparisons look outlandish to say the least.
Yet, if Southampton can help Vietto rediscover his confidence, and locate his shooting boots, they could have one of South America’s most exciting forwards on their hands. Vietto, who set up more goals than anyone else in the 2014/15 Europa League season, has all the raw attributes to thrive in Europe.
And it cannot be forgotten that he is still just 23.
Southampton have a knack of getting the best out of their young players and Vietto’s vast potential suggests he could be worth the rather expensive risk.