Dybala, Icardi and Vietto the latest in the legacy of devastating Argentine attackers

Argentina and top-class attacking players go hand-in-hand with the likes of Mario Kempes, Diego Maradona and Gabriel Batistuta just three of countless top-drawer forwards to originate from the South American nation over the years.

The legacy of these amazing forwards is continued in the current Albiceleste set-up, with manager Gerardo Martino having the unparalleled luxury of choosing between Lionel Messi, Sergio Agüero, Carlos Tevez and Gonzalo Higuaín in his attack.

However, despite the world-class status of the afore-mentioned quartet, the South American nation’s attacking reserves are set to be boosted by a new generation of exciting forwards that have started to excel in Europe over the last six months.

Paulo Dybala, Mauro Icardi and Luciano Vietto have all started 2014-15 with a bang and with all three aged 21 the future looks very bright for the Argentinian national side.

Dybala made the move to Europe back in 2012, with Palermo something of a surprise destination given the excitement being generated in his homeland over his performances at Instituto.

The diminutive attacker has had contrasting fortunes since his switch to Sicily, with the young striker needing time to adjust to his new environment and a new style of football.

However, with the Stadio Renzo Barbera outfit promoted to Serie A this season, Dybala has burst onto the scene in 2014-15 and is now living up to the hype that surrounded his move to Europe two years ago.

Paulo DybalaAfter netting ten goals in 18 games for Palermo this season, the transfer rumblings linking Dybala with big-money moves to England are an almost daily occurrence and for good reason given his scintillating form.

Icardi has also struck ten times in Serie A this season for Inter, with the Argentine’s goals and coming of age a rare plus point in a disappointing campaign for the Nerazzurri.

The sprightly attacker has taken an interesting route to the top, having opted to leave Barcelona’s La Masia academy in search of first-team football back in 2011.

A loan spell and then permanent move to Sampdoria was the making of Icardi, with the 2012-13 campaign showing the footballing world that a young star had arrived.

Off the back of a campaign that heralded ten Serie A strikes, including a four-goal haul in the demolition of Pescara and the decisive goal to down champions Juventus in a 3-2 thriller, Inter moved quickly to sign the South American star.

Last season Icardi found himself behind compatriot Rodrigo Palacio in Walter Mazzarri’s preferences but this term the younger striker has been the attacking talisman of an under-performing Inter outfit.

Significantly, along with Tevez and Higuaín, Icardi and Dybala complete the top four of Serie A’s goalscorers list this season, showing the influence of Argentinian strikers in Italian football currently.

Meanwhile, Vietto has been a revelation in his first six months in European football after swapping boyhood club Racing for La Liga side Villarreal.

Luciano ViettoThe former Argentina under-20’s forward was under the tutelage of Diego Simeone at the Avellaneda outfit, with his predatory nature and movement off the ball capturing the eye of European scouts.

In the end Villarreal took the initiative and brought Vietto to Spain in the summer, where he has quickly established himself as a player to worry opposition defences.

At the start of the season Vietto was used as a substitute more often than not and introduced to Spanish football gradually, but he now is one of the first names on head coach Marcelinho’s teamsheet.

The gifted forward has scored eight La Liga goals this season, including the winner against mentor Simeone and his defending champions Atlético Madrid at the Estadio Vicente Calderón last month and has been receiving rave reviews as a result.

Vietto was named ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as December’s La Liga Player of the Month and it appears that the sky is the limit for this young hitman.

Interestingly, this talented trio have had limited exposure at national age-grade level. Dybala has never played for Argentina at any level, while Icardi and Vietto have only a collective nine caps for the under-20 side.

Breaking into the senior set-up will be a big ask for the trio however given the talent at Martino’s disposal currently, with Icardi claiming a solitary cap back in 2013 and the other two not yet considered.

That said, with Argentina set to face South Africa in a friendly in March ahead of this summer’s Copa America, if the trio continue their current goalscoring exploits it will give Martino a selection dilemma that most national coaches can only dream of.

By
I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo, goal.com, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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