What has made Raul Jimenez one of Europe’s most wanted strikers?

Raul Jimenez

The Wolves star has been linked with a big-money move

Raul Jimenez. MarcusRashford. Jamie Vardy. Three great strikers, all enjoying great campaigns.

But of the trio, only Jimenez has scored more than 20 goalsin all competitions so far this season. In fact, he’s scored 22, including 13in the Premier League, and while his impressive form may have gone under someradars, several European heavyweights have been keeping an eye on him.

Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona have all beenlinked with a move for the Mexican frontman recently, leaving Wolves fansnervously looking over their shoulders.

Nobody quite knows when football will return and what impactit will have on the transfer market, but interest in Jimenez is inevitable andwe’ve taken a look at what all the fuss is about.

Wolves hot streak

After winning promotion to the Premier League, Wolvessnapped up Jimenez on loan from Benfica at the start of last season. Thesigning hardly seemed inspiring at the time – he’d scored 22 league goals inhis previous four seasons, including a dismal spell at Atletico Madrid.

Yet Jimenez more than proved his doubters wrong, scoring 17times in all competitions as Wolves secured a Europa League spot and proceededto smash their transfer record to make the striker’s stay at Molineuxpermanent.

The 29-year-old has gone from strength to strength thisseason, adding 10 assists to his 22 goals and developing a classic ‘big manlittle man’ strike partnership with Diogo Jota.

Back to basics

In a league dominated by the likes of Sergio Aguero andMohamed Salah, who are naturally more agile and want the ball at their feet,it’s refreshing that Jimenez is able to brush shoulders with the elite despitebeing more of a traditional target man.

Preferring to wrestle with centre-backs and get on the endof crosses than to beat his man and smash one in from distance, Jimenez is athrowback and his physicality and intelligence makes him the perfect foil for hisWolves team-mates.

Despite being a natural goalscorer, he also possesses thequalities that often go unnoticed. His hold-up play, aerial presence and dummyruns have seen him turn provider as well, contributing to Jota’s return of 15goals.

But that’s not to say his physicality is where his onlyattributes lie – far from it. He’s mobile, can finish with both feet and has adelicate first touch to complement his vision and ability to find a team-mate.

In an era where strikers need to have it all, he’s nearenough an all-rounder and if he were five years younger, he’d be one of themost sought-after players in Europe. Jimenez also boasts a proclivity forscoring crucial goals, with his decisive strikes earning Wolves 15 points thisseason, propelling them to sixth place in the Premier League.

Big fish in a small pond?

Whenever a striker makes the step up to a bigger club, wherethe pressure to perform and the expectation from fans is magnified, there arealways question marks about whether they can handle it.

Luka Jovic scored for fun at Eintracht Frankfurt last seasonbut has struggled to adapt at Real Madrid. Yet Sadio Mane has gone from apromising star at Southampton to one of the best players in the world at Liverpool.

Whether Jimenez has reached his ceiling at Wolves or whetherhe can replicate his form, and even improve on it, at a team chasing leaguetitles and European glory remains to be seen. At 29, he’s likely alreadyexperienced his peak but for a player whose style doesn’t rely on pace itshouldn’t be a problem for him to continue performing at the top level foryears to come.

Without question he’s developed into one of the PremierLeague’s deadliest strikers while at Wolves and there’s every chance he’d beable to cope if United or Real came knocking. But with Wolves currently justtwo points off a Champions League spot, he may fancy his chances at continuinghis project and establishing the Midlands side as a genuine contender, ratherthan jumping ship at the first opportunity.

View the latest football odds.

All odds and markets correct as of date of publication

Latest Articles