Raúl Jiménez is one of the hottest names in the English Premier League today. At only 29 years of age and clearly in the prime of his career, Jiménez is on his way to completing his second full season with the Wolverhampton Wanderers, who are just two years removed of being crowned champions of the EFL Championship. The Mexican would go on to join head coach Nuno Espírito Santo’s squad and quickly earn a crucial starting role alongside offensive partners Diego Jota and Adama Traoré. Together, they surprised not only England, but the entire world as they showed the skill and quality of a well experienced and successful team in the Premier League. But to many people’s surprise, they had just won promotion.
Jiménez was an integral part of Wolves’ success last season, as he played in all 38 league matches, accounted for 13 goals and 8 assists. Not to mention, the team won almost half of its games and ended up 7th in the league table, qualifying for the UEFA Europa League. In April of 2019, Wolves announced they would exercise their €38 million option to sign Jiménez from Benfica, and was given a four-year contract extension.
So far this season, he has played in all 32 league matches, as well as all 7 of the 9 UEFA Europa League matches the club participated in. He has 15 goals and 6 assists in the Premier League to go along with 3 goals and 3 assists in the UEFA EL. Not to mention, his club sits 5th in the league table. Absolute unreal production across the board. He hasn’t missed a single league match in his two years with the club and has maintained an unbelievable level of consistency. He has learned where to be located on the field to receive the ball, has become a deadly accurate passer, and has maintained his ability to score goals on a consistent basis. Not every day is it that we see this kind of play from a Mexican striker.
Since coming out of the COVID break, Wolves have played three matches; they have won all three and Jiménez has scored in two of them. He appears to not have missed a beat during the break, and this great showing has sparked rumors about the Mexican departing for a bigger club to continue climbing to greater heights in his career. Juventus is the latest team the star has been linked to. Would that really be in the striker’s best interests?
Total and complete SELL. If he were to be transferred to Juventus, for example, let’s take a look at who he would be competing with for a spot. First off, we have none other than Cristiano Ronaldo. Paulo Dybala would be his direct position competitor. Oh, and you also have Gonzalo Higuain coming off the bench. Not to mention, the other wingers like Bernardeschi and Douglas Costa. Five players who are very unlikely to be moved from their positions and have proven they can handle the pressure and Maurizio Sarri’s system.
Jiménez has found a system that benefits him and allows him to exploit his talent and abilities with Nuno Espírito Santo. Moving to la Vecchia Signora would mean adapting to a brand-new system with much more competition around him, and any sign of a minimal let up would have Jiménez headed to the bench in favor of any of the names previously mentioned. He already learned this lesson the hard way when he signed for Simeone’s Atlético de Madrid.
Two-time England World Cup participant Joe Cole had this to say to BT Sport regarding both Jiménez, Traoré and the rest of the key players: “My advice to any of those players is to stick around because good things are happening at Wolves.” I couldn’t agree more with the ex-Chelsea star. When you have something this good going for you and in this case, competing for a Champions’ League spot, the first thing the big teams will try to do is break them apart. If the economic part is settled and they really want to accomplish important things in their career, the best thing they can do is stick together. This team can accomplish so much more than what they have so far if they can add a couple more key pieces.
This is also the best way to stay in rhythm and competing at a high level so by the time the 2022 World Cup rolls around, they can be the biggest assets for their National Teams. Mexico NT head coach ‘Tata’ Martino commented a couple of days ago on how it can be very tempting at times for players to take the bait, but they sometimes don’t realize how happy they are in their current situation.
So many players that have done a good job with a team for a short period of time have left for bigger teams and so many have failed because they either weren’t ready or weren’t a good fit for that system. Others have found prolonged success with their clubs, such as Jamie Vardy at Leicester City and Harry Kane at Tottenham. It’s not a bad thing to remain with the club that has seen you grow and where you have competed at great lengths with still so many so many stories to write.
If empirical evidence has taught us anything in these types of moves, it’s that most of the time, the players are much better off remaining at their club instead of trying to become the next best player in the world at the biggest team. Of course, there are more factors involved, but if what Jiménez truly wants is to grow as a player and have minutes, Wolves is the club to be at. He got to taste the UEFA Europa League this year and could very likely have a taste of the Champions’ League next year. I’m not saying he should never try to grow career wise and look for bigger challenges; what I am saying is that now is not the time. SELL. SELL. SELL.