Wolverhampton Wanderers smashed the club transfer record to pieces by officially announcing the permanent capture of Benfica loanee Raul Jimenez, one of the breakout players of the Premier League season.
The club teased the signing on Wednesday with a tweet, and confirmed the deal Thursday morning. While the official release did not confirm a monetary figure on the deal – somewhat rare for record signings – reports suggest the figure is between $39 million and $42 million, blasting the old transfer record set last summer by signing Adama Traore for $23.6 million.
Jimenez has been a critical figure to Wolves’ surprisingly successful return to the Premier League. After joining in the summer on loan from Benfica following Wolves’ promotion via the Championship crown, Jimenez has been involved in 48% of the club’s Premier League goals this season – the highest in the league – scoring 12 and assisting seven more. He has appeared in every Premier League match for Wolves this season and has started all but two, earning a 2,594 minutes out of a possible 2,970 so far.
“The impact Raul has made during his short time at the club has been fantastic and we’re delighted that he’ll be part of the club’s long-term future,” said Wolves sporting director Kevin Thelwell in the official club release. “From the second he walked through the door, he settled straight into the group, and that reflects in his performance, with Raul providing assists and overall selfless performances, as well as obviously goals.”
After completing the deal, Jimenez has signed a four-year contract at Wolves which will keep him at Monlieux through the summer of 2023.
“It’s a great honour for me to now be a permanent member of the team. I’m very happy for this permanent deal as I feel that being at Wolves suits me,” Jimenez said in the official release. “I’ve enjoyed my time here, I enjoy playing in the pitch and, along with all my team-mates, we try our best in all the matches to win. Since I’ve arrived here it’s all been so good. We’ve had some good moments, some bad moments; but the best ones have been so good and I’m very happy for that.”
Jimenez has quickly emerged as a key member of the spine of Wolves this season. He has molded a devastating partnership with Diogo Jota up front, and along with 22-year-old midfielder Ruben Neves, the three have become the face of a dangerous Premier League club. While fellow promoted side Fulham spent big this summer to no avail, officially relegated this past weekend, Wolves has risen to seventh in the Premier League table with shrewd targeted spending. They have earned wins in league play over Manchester United, Chelsea, and Tottenham this season, plus draws against Manchester City and Arsenal.
While Jimenez was not a key contributor during Mexico’s stay in the 2018 World Cup, he has earned a more significant role with his performance in the Premier League this season. He has started in four of the eight friendlies since the end of the World Cup, scoring three goals, including one this past international break in a 3-1 win over Chile.
Wolves confirmed that the transfer fee paid to Benfica was pre-set at the beginning of the season, an option to purchase in his loan deal triggered by the Premier League club. Considering Jimenez was not a regular for Benfica last season – appearing 33 times in league play but 28 of those off the bench – the financial haul for the Portuguese club is a significant one.