Barcelona target Vietto set for loan move to Sevilla
By Richard Martin
BARCELONA (Reuters) - Barcelona's attempts to supplement their 'MSN' strikeforce of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar look set to continue as their long-running target Luciano Vietto is poised to join Sevilla on loan.
Vietto was left out of Atletico Madrid's pre-season tour to Australia on Tuesday following a report in newspaper Diario de Sevilla that he had completed a loan move to triple Europa League winners Sevilla worth 3.5 million euros ($3.85 million).
It said Sevilla would have the option to sign the Argentine permanently for 20 million euros next summer.
Sevilla did not comment on the deal although midfielder Matias Kranevitter, who recently joined the club on loan from Atletico, said he hoped to see his compatriot follow in his footsteps by moving to the Sanchez Pizjuan.
Kranevitter said: "He is a very, very good player. Every time he has got the chance to play he's proved he's a very important player. It would benefit Sevilla a lot if he came here. Let's wait and see what happens."
According to the report, the loan deal is separate to Atletico's proposed move to sign Kevin Gameiro, Sevilla's top scorer last season with 29 goals in all competitions and another player Barcelona have reportedly targeted.
The 22-year-old Vietto had a difficult season at Atletico following his move from Villarreal, where he had scored 20 goals in all competitions in his first season in European football.
The Argentine managed just three goals for Atletico, only one of which came in the league.
Vietto is not the only striker to struggle to adapt to life at Atletico, with fellow frontman Jackson Martinez moving to Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande barely six months after a 32 million euros move from Porto to Atletico, scoring just three goals in 22 outings for Diego Simeone's side.
Mario Mandzukic, a big money transfer from Bayern Munich in 2014, also only stayed at the club for one season.
Barca have made four close-season signings, bringing in centre-half Samuel Umtiti from Olympique Lyonnais, Paris Saint-Germain right-back Lucas Digne and Valencia midfielder Andre Gomes, as well as exercising a buy-back clause for Denis Suarez.
Luis Enrique's side, however, are reportedly still searching for a player to complement a strikeforce that scored 130 goals last season to fire the Catalans to the Liga title and King's Cup.
Academy graduate Munir El Haddadi is the only other forward in the first team squad after Sandro Ramirez left for Malaga.
($1 = 0.9101 euros)
(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Ken Ferris)