Midweek, everyone being bored ahead of the British elections (who saw THAT coming?? Certainly not the pollsters) came news that Arsenal were interested in Luciano Vietto. Or, rather, that they should be.
The root of the story was an interview with ex-Arsenal striker Charlie Nicholas, who said that while he thought Arsenal would be OK with their existing strike force, "if we are to get one in, rather than go for a big name, I'd like to see us target Luciano Vietto, the young Argentinean lad at Villarreal". Interesting that the papers picked it up as "sign Vietto before Liverpool swoop" (swoop being a favorite verb for the headline rumor-writers) since those of you as old as I may remember when Nicholas himself was rumored to be going from Celtic to Liverpool in the day, before ending up at Highbury.
Interestingly though, this bleacher report feature, while restating the reasons for signing him, also comments:
"But after making a major switch from Racing Club to Villarreal last summer, a move to the Premier League could be too much too soon for this young man. Indeed, he’s only started a total of 15 games in La Liga this season and is still a very raw talent, as is evident by an average of 1.9 dispossessions per game, per WhoScored.com
Another season as a regular starter at El Madrigal would allow Vietto to continue refining his precocious talent. If he can continue to develop and add some underpinning consistency to complement the panache he’s showcased in bursts this season, then the likes of Arsenal will not take long to come calling."
Remember, Arsenal's scouting service is very stats-based (that's why they signed Gabriel) so I suspect they are well aware of the pros and cons of Vietto's game at this point. And while I'm admittedly biased, I'd like to think another year at Villarreal would indeed do him good. He has certainly had some physical pains of late (perhaps related to wearing down over a long season in the top flight) and remember, at the start of the season he was on the bench.
In any event, it's also being reported we are hoping to get him to sign a new contract which will double his release clause, to €40m. Should that happen, I'd think clubs would indeed sit back for another year and see how he progresses in Spain, but we shall see.