Raul Jimenez has become a very well-known name for all fantasy managers over the past 12 months whilst on loan at Wolves for the 2018/19 season. However, he has now signed a permanent deal moving from Benfica (Portugal) to Wolves for a fee of around €25 million, which was music to the ears of all of us!
Aged 28, Jimenez terminated his contract with two seasons still to play for Benfica. Jimenez has also risen through the ranks in terms of his international career having made 71 appearances for Mexico scoring 17 goals including competing in both the 2014 and 2018 World Cups.
The Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo has heavily praised his performances throughout the season stating his “fantastic ability” as well as hails the forward as a team player as he helped them to secure 7th spot and a place in the Europa League qualifiers in their very first season in the Premier League.
Prior to his move to Wolves, Jimenez began his career in the youth team for América in the Liga MX (Mexican League). On the 9th of October 2011, at the age of 20, he made his first senior appearance for the club and scored his first goal just 3 weeks later. Jimenez then went on to score 31 goals and assist 15 in 83 games. He was then signed by Atletico Madrid for €10 million and experienced a short and unsuccessful time here scoring only once in 28 appearances.
After this he moved to Benfica for €22 million where he scored 31 goals and assisted 15 in 120 appearances for Benfica. However, he was a substitute for much of his career here and only broke into the first time at the end of the 2017/18 season before he then moved to Wolves on loan. During his time at Benfica he returned a goal or an assist on average once ever 94 minutes showing his potential to be involved in goals has backing from large portions of his career.
In his first season in the Premier League Jiminez amounted 13 goals and 7 assists totalling 20 attacking returns and played minutes in every single one of the 38 league matches this season. This equals an attacking return once every 148 minutes this season which equates to roughly a game and a half. He also played 6 matches in the FA Cup and scored 4 goals as Wolves reached the semi-finals before being knocked out by Watford in extra time.
Throughout the beginning of the season Wolves relied heavily on his performances with their 3-4-3/5-2-3 formation struggling elsewhere for attacking output, notably their wingers, for example Cavaleiro. However, towards the end of the season the attack found its rhythm more with the introduction of Dendonker into the side freeing up either midfield and a switch to 3-5-2 as the previously injured Jota came back from injury. A blossoming partnership between Jota and Jimenez then followed with them both returning 3 double digit returns in the second half of the season compared to just one in the first half for Jimenez. During their first season Wolves picked up 9 points against the top 6 teams, more than any other non top 6 team with Jimenez returning 4 goals and 4 assists across these games showing he is fairly fixture proof.
Fantasy Football Potential
We all have seen the potential Jimenez has in the Premier League with his impressive performance in his first season. However, the question that needs to be asked is whether this can be replicated going into his second season or whether he is a “one season wonder”.
The first point against Jimenez is the amount of matches he will be playing before the start of the season. He is currently on International duty for Mexico in the Gold Cup which could see him away from the squad up until late July. This is then followed by Europa League qualifiers which is a big worry for many managers. Last season Burnley finished 7th in the League and qualified for the Europa League causing their league performance to drop due to too many fixtures for their squad depth. Burnley were 18th and in the relegation at Christmas this season as they struggled with fatigue. There is a worry that we could see a similar pattern for Wolves and Jimenez in this period as players are rested in the league to try and perform in Europe.
The other point is how reliant Jimenez can be on those around him. The statistics point to Jimenez performing much better when Jota is also playing and so you risk an early injury to Jota, as we saw in the 2018/19 season hindering his early performance.
The final negative for Jimenez is his potential price. With a total of 181 points scored and a start price of only £5.5m rising to £6.9m at the end of the season and a 33% ownership it is inevitable that he gets a price hike. How much this increase is has managers waiting on baited breath and the fact that Jimenez outperformed the likes of Lacazette, Firmino, Vardy and Kane could see his price spiked to the “cheap premiums” in the region of £8-£9m.
Overall, Jimenez has proved to us not just in his first season at Wolves but throughout his career that he has a good eye for goal and enjoys helping his team mates as well. There is no doubt that Jimenez has very high potential going into his second season, and his first season as a permanent player at Wolves. As well as this, with his record against the top 6 being strong, Wolves mixed opening fixtures, including Man U Chelsea as well as Burnley and Leicester, should play a lesser role in his potential selection in managers teams. However, the concerns as to his fitness at the start of the season will play on managers minds when picking their gameweek 1 team. As well as this, it is not clear to see if Wolves will be able to maintain their momentum into the second season as there will be a better understanding as to how teams should stop their currently lethal attack.
Written by FPL Tipz (@FPLTIPZ)