Luciano Vietto to Liverpool always seems a long shot, particularly once it became clear that Atletico Madrid were interested in the player, and according to reports out of Spain, the race is now all but over. Liverpool’s lack of Champions League football may have been a factor, but with the player also reportedly turning down an approach from Arsenal, it wasn’t the determining one.
The determining factor, as in the case of Memphis Depay choosing Manchester United earlier in the summer, appears to be the manager. If the rumours are true, Vietto wants to reunite with Diego Simeone, who he played under at Racing Club in Argentina and who handed the 21-year-old rising star his professional debut. Higher wages with either Arsenal or Liverpool were on offer, but Simeone was the deciding factor.
Reports suggest that a fee of around €20M, in line with Vietto’s release clause, has been agreed. As taxes are only levied on the buyout fee if it’s a club outside of Spain triggering it, though, it seems as likely that Atleti are simply willing to trigger his release. And given the price other similarly talented strikers are likely to go for and the bargain Vietto represents, it’s easy to see why they would.
Vietto scored 20 goals in all competitions for Villarreal last season at a rate of a goal every 148 minutes he was on the pitch and with a 17% strike rate, and if he continues to improve is likely to become one of the best strikers in the game over the next few seasons.