When Liverpool entered the January transfer window seemingly in need of striking reinforcements, the most often linked player was Villarreal’s Luciano Vietto. It’s easy to understand why. The 21-year-old’s pace, work-rate, movement, and link up play is superb. He’s one of the brightest young strikers on the continent and is projected to develop into one of the best players in the world.
He’s also taken brilliantly to top flight European football, and has a superb goal return. There may have been some doubts when, a year ago, he was first linked to Liverpool while still playing for Argentina’s Racing Club, but there are few doubts about his ability today. Plus, with a rumoured £14M release clause, he could end up quite the bargain. And now, the player’s agent has suggested a summer move could be on the cards.
"He might leave in the summer," Vietto’s agent Jorge Cyterszpiler said when he was asked recently about rumours linking his client with an impending departure. "If big clubs make an offer we will need to talk, but for now he can only think about the work he has to keep doing. And if those big clubs want to make a deal, the offer will have to be very good, not just for us but also for Villarreal."
Vietto’s rumoured £14M release clause could be complicated by the fact that if Villarreal is forced to release him, Spanish law sets out that the buying club would have to pay a 100% tax rate—though as none of the tax would go to Villarreal, they might be willing to agree a deal slightly higher than Vietto’s release. The player’s agent also owns a percentage of his client’s rights which would have to be purchased.
However, if the increasingly frequent reports linking the striker to Liverpool are true, it makes for an exciting top striker target. Vietto has scored 20 goals and eight assists in all competitions this season, registering a goal roughly every 120 minutes he’s on the pitch with a 17% strike rate. That compares favourably to Paulo Dybala, who scores a goal every 200 minutes with a 12.5% strike rate and Mauro Icardi, who scores a goal every 150 minutes with a 15% strike rate.
Those are numbers that set Vietto out as the best finisher amongst a very talented and very highly regarded crop of young Argentinian strikers. That Icardi and Dybala would likely cost twice as much as Vietto only makes him a more exciting potential target, and the sort of player who if Liverpool aren’t seriously interested in and doing everything they can to get they really should be.