Out-of-favour Atletico Madrid striker Luciano Vietto has emerged as a candidate to bolster Barcelona's attacking depth, should the Catalan side fail to sign their first choice of Kevin Gameiro, according to Mundo Deportivo. The former Villarreal star had been linked with a move to the Nou Camp last summer, and his agent has reportedly offered the player's services to Barcelona ahead of the coming mercato, with the Argentine seemingly surplus to Diego Simeone's requirements.
The versatile 22-year-old forward was one of the sensations of the 2014-15 La Liga campaign, scoring 20 goals in 48 appearances for Villarreal. Vietto was linked with the likes of Barcelona themselves, Real Madrid and Liverpool, before Atletico Madrid triggered his €20m (£15.5m, $22.4m) release clause to lure him to the Vicente Calderon.
Vietto said at the time he had dreamt about a move to Barcelona to play alongside compatriot Lionel Messi, but instead opted to join Los Colchoneros as Simeone was the man who handed him his debut while the pair were at Argentine outfit Racing Club back in 2011.
However, the forward has failed to develop in his first season with Atletico, falling behind the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Fernando Torres, Yannick Ferrira-Carrasco and even youngster Angel Correa in the manager's pecking order.
Vietto only made 17 starts during the campaign, scoring just three goals in all competitions, and was not even in the matchday squad during the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid. Simeone is thus reportedly ready to let him go as the Argentine manager has earmarked the signing of a top forward, such as Edinson Cavani or Diego Costa, as a priority.
Mundo Deportivo claims Barcelona are ready to take advantage of the situation, with Luis Enrique desperate to sign a versatile forward to serve as back up for the trinity of Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar next season.
Sevilla forward Kevin Gameiro is said to be the manager's first choice, but Vietto could prove to be a more affordable option. Reports suggest Vietto's agent recently met with Barcelona officials to offer them the services of his charge, who would apparently be eager to accept a secondary role at the Nou Camp.