It appears to be all systems go at Fulham. Mitrovic looks to be out of the door with a move to Saudi Arabia looming and a potential replacement may have been found. Wolves forward Raul Jimenez has been reported by various sources to have agreed a £5.5 million deal to move to Fulham with a medical set to take place at some point this week. Mitrovic’s shoes are big ones to fill, is Jimenez the man to fill them?
The fact file
Jimenez started his career in Mexico playing for Club America from 2008 to 2014 for both their youth sides as well as the first team. During the three years in the first team from 2011 to 2014, Jimenez impressed throughout for both his club and country making his Mexican debut in 2013 and was rewarded with a move to Atletico Madrid for €11m.
The striker struggled to set the world alight for what would be his singular season in Spain, scoring just one goal off the bench against Sevilla. Atletico Madrid decided to sell up pretty quickly and Benfica took the risk on Jimenez signing for €9m. The Mexican international spent three seasons at Benfica where he managed to win six trophies while also playing regular Champions League football.
Super-agent Jorge Mendes then managed to navigate a Premier League move for Jimenez to newly-promoted Wolves originally on loan in 2018 which was made permanent a year later in 2019. Jimenez’s first few seasons in the Premier League were exceptional picking up 30 league goals over the course of two seasons.
Jimenez’s third season in England came to a drastic end in November 2020 following a nasty collision with David Luiz where the Mexican was later diagnosed with a fractured skull. The forward was able to complete rehabilitation and has since struggled to find form, most notably last season where he didn’t manage to score a goal.
A deeper dive
As mentioned above, Jimenez failed to score a goal last season, but I think there’s a few things worth noting. Firstly, Wolves scored the fewest goals in the league (31) and with a new manager (Lopetegui) coming in, it could’ve been difficult for Jimenez to adapt. That being said, the Mexican did have chances averaging 56.4 minutes per appearance and ended the season with an xG of 2.6 suggesting that he was wasteful.
Despite Mitrovic leaving, I think it’s important to note that Jimenez and Mitrovic are not similar players despite being the same height at 6’2. Jimenez prefers the ball to feet a lot more and wants to dribble with the ball similar to what we saw Vinicius doing towards the latter stages of last season. Jimenez’s defensive output is also quite good being in the top 20% for tackles (attackers only) and top 14% for blocks.
The final verdict
I think a few things need to be mentioned here. Firstly, Jimenez shouldn’t be the Mitrovic replacement. He’s past his prime and hasn’t been a clinical striker for a few seasons now and would be better suited to a rotational option. Due to this, does this mean that Vinicius as well as Muniz will be sold this summer to make room for Jimenez and another option who is more likely to start every week?
I’m not overly convinced on this signing and especially for almost £6 million. That being said, Silva has proven he can get the best out of players who have been deemed “past it” and who’s to say Jimenez won’t be another one of those players?