Although Liverpool will welcome Danny Ings on July 1st to replenish their dysfunctional forward line, deposed La Liga champions Atletico Madrid have dashed hopes of another mooted target following the England Under-21 to Anfield.
Rising star Luciano Vietto was reported to be one name scribbled in ink on Liverpool’s striker shortlist, but the 21-year-old Villarreal ace has chosen a reunion with his former manager at Racing Club instead.
Diego Simeone knows all about his fellow countryman from that period of his career and that familiarity in alliance with the continuity of staying in Spain, appear to have been Los Rojiblancos’ trump cards in the deal.
Vietto fired in 12 La Liga goals for El Submarino Amarillo to help the club post a sixth-place finish in Spain’s top flight last season.
Such exploits from the youngster inevitably bred interest across the continent, and especially at Liverpool, where earmarking viable alternatives to Brendan Rodgers’ collection of misfiring centre-forwards became priority business as the season wore on.
Rodgers has since spoken of his desire to sign more established players during this transfer window, as he looks for instant impacts to help turnaround the lowest ebb of his Anfield tenure.
However, even though Vietto is clearly not a household name yet, there’ll be no denying the Northern Irishman has missed out on a striker whose burgeoning reputation sees him set for a glittering career.
To this end Atletico will part with a reported fee of around £16m for his services as they reinvigorate their own stocks in a bid to keep pace with La Liga’s power couple next season.
The traders at bwin.com certainly believe Vietto has a decent chance of furthering Atletico’s cause, pricing him at 6/5 to rack up over 12.5 league goals by the conclusion of the 2015/16 campaign.
Replacing their top forward talent is becoming something of a speciality under Simeone at the Vicente Calderon it would seem, much to Liverpool’s detriment on this occasion.
Albeit from within, Radamel Falcao’s immense contribution over several seasons was replaced by Diego Costa’s title-clinching goal glut, while the Chelsea signing made way for Bayern Munich’s Mario Mandzukic and Real Sociedad’s Antoine Griezmann last summer.
The pair contributed 45 all-competition goals during 2014/15 and with the former now Juventus-bound, Vietto steps into the breach and could yet be joined by Porto’s much sought-after striker Jackson Martinez.