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Wolves: Julen Lopetegui set to ditch Raul Jimenez

New Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Julen Lopetegui will have some big decisions to make at Molineux after the World Cup if he wants to keep the Old Gold in the Premier League and it seems as if the Spaniard is set for a big call on Raul Jimenez.

According to the Mexican news outlet W Desportes, Jimenez could be close to returning to his former side America in Mexico and already has a ‘foot and a half’ out of Molineux.

Lopetegui will reportedly make the 31-year-old available for transfer in January as he looks to cash in on the struggling striker, with Matheus Cunha seemingly likely to arrive as his replacement.

The former Sevilla boss has already voiced his frustrations about Jimenez going to Qatar with Mexico, despite last featuring for the Old Gold in their stalemate with Bournemouth in August.

He said:

“It’s his decision, no problem. And I understand. But, of course, I told him my thoughts. He is not fit at this moment because he has been injured and he hasn’t played any minutes for two or three months. Two or three very important months.

“I understand, of course, that players want to go to the World Cup. I understand the country puts pressure on them to go. But, in the end, you have to be able to play well and you have to show this for your club team first.

“But he decided to go. Mexico decided to call him up. I want, when he comes back, for him to be fit for us. I am worried about that, of course, because Raul is an important player for us for sure.”

Is it time to get rid of Jimenez?

Yes

Yes

No

No

Since signing for Wolves in a £30m deal in 2019, the former Benfica man has gone on to make 150 appearances for the Old Gold, in which he has contributed 55 goals and 23 assists.

However, he has sadly never looked the same player after suffering a horrible fractured skull injury in 2020, with just ten goals in his last 47 Premier League appearances, which is far from good enough for a player who earns £100k-per-week at Molineux.

Given Wolves’ woes in front of goal so far this season, which has seen them manage just eight in the Premier League, it seems clear that they don’t currently have the quality required to stave off relegation to the Championship, and there is no time for sentiment from Lopetegui.

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Jimenez was once considered a “world-class” forward – in the words of Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan – but his form in recent campaigns shows that he is a shadow of his former self, so Lopetegui is right to consider replacing him in January, especially after his disappointing decision to put his country ahead of his club by going to the World Cup.