Raul Jimenez arrived at Molineux in the summer of 2018 on a season long loan from Benfica. Portugal and Wolverhampton Wanderers, name a more iconic duo. The Mexican had always been a talented forward with natural ability and an eye for goal. Yet an underwhelming spell in Spain for Atletico alongside decent, but not exceptional, performances for Benfica meant expectations weren’t sky high for the striker.
Fast forward to March 2020, Jimenez is among the best strikers in the Premier league. After an impressive debut season in England, Wolves triggered the £30 million option to buy before the end of 2018/19. Their now club record signing had to build on his first season and repay the faith the Wanderers as well as Nuno Espirito Santo had in him. It’s fair to see he’s done just that.
Going from strength to strength
The Mexican international really showcased his quality in 2018/19 with 13 goals and 6 assists in 28 games. An impressive 17 goals in all competitions, including one in the FA Cup Semi-final vs Watford. His role in this Wolves team was not just that of a goal scorer, but also a provider. A role that is becoming increasingly common and desirable in the modern day.
The 28 year old has gone a step above in 2019/20. He’s quietly gone about his business with 22 goals in all competitions, including a prolific 9 in 12, in the Europa League. Not to mention, he’s matched his goal tally from last season with one fewer assist in 10 FEWER GAMES. Jimenez is in his prime and one of the best all round forwards in the league. It’s only fair we give him the credit he’s due.
As Wolves continue their Europa League push through the knockout stages, the former Atletico attacker will be instrumental to their progression. It’s no wonder Los Rojiblancos are reportedly interested in bringing him back…
Raul Jimenez – Style of Play
Jimenez is an incredibly versatile forward. At 6ft 3, he’s a dominant physical presence, often using his strength and frame to breeze past defenders. No wonder he’s the focal point of Wolves’ attack, considering how good his hold up play is. Stating the obvious of course, but given his height, he’s also a massive aerial threat in the opposition’s box. It’s that heading ability that has helped Adama Traore get crosses in the box and more assists in 2019/20.
It’s incredible that alongside his height and power, Jimenez has a surprising turn of pace. An industrious forward who works tirelessly in this Wolves side, he’s often able to drift wide and run the channels, due to his speed and stamina. Moreover, he’s a skilful dribbler with fast feet for such a large striker, averaging 1.9 dribbles per game in the top flight. The video does well to demonstrate how intelligent the Mexican is in terms of his movement. His positional sense, whether that be for goal scoring or to find pockets of space to facilitate others is second to none.
Further to that, it’s actually incredible how underrated Jimenez is as a playmaker. As shown in the the video, the passing range and vision of the former Benfica striker is on the level of a creative midfielder. Whether that be sliding it through to Traore, flicks around the corner, outside of the boot crosses across the box or just a simple through ball, he’s an excellent creator. Hence why he’s averaging 1.4 key passes per game in the Premier League this season.
We haven’t even got onto the goals yet. A testament to how important Jimenez is as a player. Some strikers are criticised for not offering more to the team other than goals. Harry Kane for example. The Mexican international offers so much more as aforementioned, but can also put it in the back of the net. Poacher, target man, long shots, he has so many varieties of a goal in his repertoire. With a staggering 3.4 shots per game, it’s the runs he makes and how he reads the game with enables him to get into goal scoring positions. The video highlights how good he as a finisher in the box along with everything else he brings to the side.
“One is always open to everything, but I have a contract until 2023.”Raul Jimenez on his future at Wolves
Like I said on my Richarlison piece, both him and Raul Jimenez are criminally underrated. He’s a technically gifted forward able to impact the game in so many ways. A hard worker that often contributes defensively too, you can see the parallels between him and Everton’s Brazilian striker. Put some respect on Jimenez’s name.
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