Wolves: Raul Jimenez should have been sold

Raul Jimenez was once a free-scoring fan favourite at Molineux, but it seems clear that Wolves should have cashed in on him when they had the chance.

How has Raul Jimenez performed at Wolves?

The Old Gold signed the Mexico international from Benfica on an initial loan basis following their promotion to the Premier League in 2018, with the striker later joining permanently in a then club-record deal worth £30m.

He proved to be a huge hit in his first season with the club, hitting 17 goals and eight assists in all competitions as Nuno Espirito Santo’s side earned themselves a place in the Europa League thanks to an impressive debut season back in the top flight.

The powerful forward followed that up in 2019/20 with a phenomenal 27 goals and ten assists in all competitions for the Old Gold, at which point clubs such as Real Madrid were credited with an interest. Meanwhile, Ilkay Gundogan labelled him “world-class” and suggested that the Mexican was good enough to play for Manchester City.

It is easy to look back with hindsight and suggest that Wolves should have cashed in on Jimenez at his peak, as he has sadly not been the same player since his awful head injury in 2020.

His fractured skull meant that the Mexican managed just ten appearances in the Premier League in the 2019/20 campaign, mustering just four goals, before his return to regular football the following season.

Should Wolves have sold Raul Jimenez?

Jimenez has just nine goals in 49 appearances since that injury and has failed to find the net in any of his Premier League appearances so far this term, with his relationship with new manager Julen Lopetegui and the fans becoming somewhat strained as a result of his injury issues earlier in the season.

The Mexican missed much of the opening few weeks of the campaign under Bruno Lage as a result of injury and fitness issues but he still travelled to Qatar to compete in the World Cup, which frustrated those at Molineux.

Were the Old Gold not in a relegation fight due to a lack of goals, which has not been amended by the signings of Matheus Cunha and Diego Costa (zero league goals between them), it would not have been a surprise to see Lopetegui cash in on Jimenez last month.

However, he is now a bit-part player in the Spaniard’s squad and no longer possesses the ability that he used to show on a regular basis at Molineux, while at 31, the likelihood is that he is only going to decline further.

At his peak in 2020, Jimenez was valued at €40m (£35.2m) by Transfermarkt but the same website has decreased his value by 70% to just €12m (£10.6m), a fee which Wolves would be lucky to receive now given his injury record, goalscoring downturn and contract situation (current deal expires in June 2024) at Molineux.

Therefore, Lopetegui should arguably have got rid of the Mexico international and his £100k-per-week wages last month, as it would not be a surprise to see him depart for a minimal fee at the end of the season unless he can undergo a huge and unlikely turnaround at Molineux.