Striker debate: Atleti to look to Vietto?

We take a look at who could be leading the line for Atleti next season

Vietto debuted under Simeone at Racing

Vietto debuted under Simeone at Racing

Atlético Madrid are a club famed for their fearsome frontmen. In the last decade or so, some of the continent’s top marksmen have graced the Vicente Calderón, and the red and whites have a rich tradition of exciting attacking play and goalscoring pedigree.

Despite the departure of Diego Costa last summer, this year is no different. In Mario Mandzukic, Atleti have a striker who played and scored in the 2013 Champions League final, and they also brought favourite son Fernando Torres back to the club during the winter transfer window.

However, this hasn’t stopped the rumour mill, and even though there are still three months left of the season, it looks as if the club are already planning their squad for 2015-16, possibly with another marquee addition up top.

The name on everybody’s lips at the moment is Luciano Vietto, who is enjoying a fine debut season in La Liga with Villarreal. The 21 year-old has been one of the breakthrough stars of the season, and needs no introduction to Diego Simeone and Atlético fans.

Back in December, Vietto scored a delightful winning goal as the Yellow Submarine grabbed a surprise 1-0 win in the Calderón, and has since earned admirers from Europe’s top table thanks to his clever movement and cool finishing.

Cholo first gave him a chance at former club Racing when he was just 17, and was supposedly interested in him last summer at one stage. “Simeone trusted me, and I will be thankful to him for the rest of my life,” said the young forward after the two teams met.

As it were, Atleti ended up with the Mexican Raúl Jiménez, who has not had as much luck since moving to Spain. You would imagine that another try for Vietto is likely though – he himself has hinted at it – but if rumours that he has a buy-out clause of just €10m then competition will be fierce.

Mandzukic has hit 20 goals so far this season so looking to replace him should not be a priority, but there was supposedly interest in him from the Premier League in January, and it’s not impossible that he could be sold if the right money were to be offered.

Since Chinese investor Wang Jianlin and the Dalian Wanda group arrived on the scene, links to PSG striker Edinson Cavani have been intensifying. The Uruguayan is said to be a favourite of Simeone’s, but the club moved quickly to dismiss speculation on Wednesday.

“Cavani is out of the market for Atleti”, ran rather categoric headlines in AS and Marca, but you have to feel that if Mandzukic were to move on, the former Napoli man would more than fit the bill.

As long as Zlatan Ibrahimovic is around the 28 year-old will always have to play a subsidiary role in Paris, but at Atleti he could take up a role akin to former hero Radamel Falcao who, on a not so separate note, may well be looking for a new club himself this summer.

Looking to the future, although things haven’t quite been working out for Jiménez, there is the very exciting prospect of Ángel Correa still to come.

The teenage star made quite the recovery from his recent heart surgery with an MVP performance at the U20 South American Youth Championships, and looks ready to take on La Liga next year. Neither he or Jiménez hold an EU passport though, so only one can stay with the squad.

We also have Léo Baptistão and Borja Bastón out on loan, both of whom currently following Diego Costa’s path of plying their trade out on loan with a view to earning their way back into contention at the Calderón.

Léo originally joined from Rayo Vallecano back in 2013, and is now back on loan with his old side and enjoying a similar season to the one that convinced us to invest in him in the first place. Despite a strong start, his form has dropped off and he is now without a goal since before Christmas.

An undoubted talent, whether Atleti stick with him remains to be seen. It paid off in Costa’s case, but Léo doesn’t seem to have progressed a great deal since first breaking through two and a half years ago.

Borja on the other hand is making a name for himself this year with Zaragoza in the Segunda División, where he is the league’s pichichi with 17 goals.

The former canterano was once regarded as one of the top striking talents in the country, but saw his young career curtailed at 17 after damaging knee ligaments on his first team debut.

Now though, he has finally put his injury troubles behind him and is showing signs of maturing into a top class striker.

Next year maybe a little soon for a return, but you can expect to see him playing in La Liga before long.

How do you see the striker stituation? Are you happy with Mandzukic and Torres, or would you look to shake things up in the summer?

  • pahas

    In this summer we will have to make some big transfers I think..if mandzukic leave,cavani must come I think. He will be a big transfer..also we can try to bring mata which seems that will leave old trafford..these two with correa,borja a good defensive midfielder to help gabi tiago and a good centre back will give us more strength than ever..

  • Sarthug Kumar

    Thomas Partey is returning, from loan. He is the CDM you ask for.

    However, if Mario leaves Camacho could be a good replacement.
    Velazquez is the CB you are describing. Remember when he made Luis Suarez look invisible?
    Cavani seems unrealistic, the club has publically said so too
    Manzu leaving? I don’t think so, but if that happens then I would like to see Carlos Bacca come in – that’s more realistic.

    BTW I’m a Barca fan but ardently follow other clubs too, like Atleti, Rayo and Villarreal. So here I am!!

  • pahas

    I don’t know who Tomas Partey is I haven’t seen him before and I don’t know how good he is..camacho and velazquez are both so good to earn a place in the starting eleven or are more players of the bench? Mandzu maybe leaves for manchester city that’s what rumors we have to do a good move for the player upfront..I prefer cavani..I think bacca is a bit overestimated I don’t like him a lot..cavani can easily give us 25-30 goals in a season in all competitions..he is too good and worth the money..we must spend this summer..barca can’t make transfers this summer so with some good moves we can compete to win all competitions next year..nice for you my friend..

  • Sarthug Kumar

    Camacho – starting XI
    Velazquez – In between the XI and bench, still needs to iron out his game, but that will come with age and working with simeone.
    Thomas – apparently Simeone likes him, and he seems to be playing exceptionally well for Almeria.
    Cavani – PSG have no reason to sell and besides, paying 40 mil+ for a 28 year old with no resale value? That isn’t a very good deal for Atletico Madrid, especially for a player who is out of form.
    Bacca is not a perfect fit in the Sevilla system but he is a perfect fit for the Atleti system – the fact that he has still scored 14 league goals in 25 games brings to light his fox-in-the-box skills. But then again, he will turn 29 this year so that doesn’t seem too good either.
    How about Duvan Zapata? He is a supersub at Napoli and is 23, with plenty of upside, and he wouldn’t cost more than 10-12 million euros.

  • pahas

    Now I have understood who Thomas is..I don’t believe that these 3 can get a place in the starting eleven although they are good and rising stars..cavani is very good for me..he can help a lot..carlos bacca is a bad guy like diego costa..I saw him a few matches only and I realised he is good but not so much to take a transfer to a bigger club..I don’t know zapata but I think we need a player that will help us definetely and score a lot of goals and not doing experiments..we have to take such a player whatever the price

  • Sarthug Kumar

    “What ever the price?”
    Given that third party ownership may be banned from this year (I hope not, for that will make the league a two-horse race yet again), and Atletico’s debt, most of Atleti’s players will be “available for the right price”.
    The club themselves have written off the transfer, because any fee will involve negotiations with PSG.
    Atleti would be better off buying a player who has plenty of years in his legs…..a hold up striker who’s good in the air. Unfortunately, that is not Vietto, neither is that Cavani, who is more of a Griezmann type player. Currently, Atleti have Torres and Borja for that, but Bacca is exceptional and wouldn’t cost much more than 20-25 million. However, if Atleti find someone cheaper, nothing like it!!
    Maybe: Lewandowski? Baptistao turning a corner Diego Costa style?
    Interesting to see how Atletico operates in the market this summer.
    Also, in other news Atletico Madrid may receive 6 million euros for 50% of Pizzi’s rights….

  • pahas

    Yes I know..we will see..hope some good players come

  • Chewie

    I would be delighted to see Zapata. He is a monster of a player and he will score loads of goals. However, I’m not sure we’re even looking in that direction. Cavani seems unrealistic, and Simeone already mentioned earlier that he’d prefer to have Bacca so he’s the likeliest candidate in case Mandzukic leaves.

  • Sarthug Kumar

    Exactly….Bacca is an obvious choice – his suitability for the Atleti system is scary….
    It’s just that Duvan Zapata seems like the under-the-radar signing Atleti is famous for (and one of the reasons I am considering becoming an Atleti fan :-)).

    Plus, Atleti have a history of buying players from Serie A

    1. Tiago (Juventus) 2011
    2. Christian Abbiati (Milan) 2007
    3. Javi Moreno, Cosmin Contra, Fabricio Coloccini, José Mari, Demetrio Albertini (Milan) 2002
    4. Christian Vieri (Juventus) 1997

  • nitesh

    i would love to see trio of blonde strikers reus griezmann & torres , and reus was linked with us in last summer transfer window but it looks unlikely after he signed new deal , how about falcao coming back? i dont think man utd want him and falcao wants to move from monaco. he is not the same player as he was before injury. it is risky but he might get his form back under simeone. and what u guys feel about adrian ramos ?

    i also think we need one creative midfielder cazorla, mata or silva,
    cazorla and mata are being linked with us .

  • pahas

    I totally agree man..reus or falcao or cavani will be great..and cazorla or mata also..they will increase our strength..other teams will fear us only from these transfers..

  • pahas

    We need these players to take us to another level