Atletico Madrid striker Luciano Vietto has been left out of the club's 24-man squad for their pre-season tour of Australia, amid suggestions that a loan move to Sevilla is imminent. Barcelona had earmarked the player as a priority signing for the current transfer window, but reports claim the Argentine will be moving instead to the Europa League winners.
Barcelona are desperately looking for a new number nine to complete their summer overhaul, following the signings of Denis Suarez, Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Digne and Andre Gomes. Manager Luis Enrique has been on the hunt for a versatile forward to serve as back-up for the MSN trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar ever since the departure of Pedro to Chelsea during last summer's transfer window.
However, they have struggled to secure their targets, having been knocked back for a number of players who opted to move elsewhere, including Manchester City signing Nolito, PSG star Hatem Ben Arfa and Borussia Dortmund's new recruit Ousmane Dembele.
Subsequently, reports in Spain have claimed that Vietto or Sevilla striker Kevin Gameiro were now the main two names on Luis Enrique's shopping list.
Last week, Mundo Deportivo reported that the Atletico Madrid forward was Barcelona's number one priority, as club officials would rather spend money on a 22-year-old than a veteran like Gameiro. The Spanish publication later claimed Barcelona had an agreement in principle with Diego Simeone's side to sign the striker in a deal worth around €22m (£18.4m, $24.1m).
However, a number of media outlets, including Mundo Deportivo themselves, are now claiming the Argentine has plumped for a move to the Europa League winners, where he would be able to secure more playing time than at the Nou Camp.
In a sign that a move could be completed within the coming hours, Atletico Madrid have confirmed the player will not be a part of their trip to Australia.
Mundo Deportivo says that the Andalucian outfit are expected to cough up €3m for a one-season loan deal, with an option to make the move permanent at the end of the campaign for an additional €20m.
Vietto is expected to replace Gameiro at the Vicente Calderon, with the Frenchman moving in the opposite direction. Neither deal is yet complete, but the arrival of the Argentine at the Europea League champs paves the way for the other move.
That would be a double blow for Barcelona, who would need to look elsewhere once more for an attacker. West Ham target Carlos Bacca, Deportivo de la Coruna striker Lucas Perez and German international Mario Gomez are the latest names to be linked with the Spaniards.