Raul Jimenez

Wolverhampton Wanderers
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What we love about Wolverhampton Wanderers

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This week at ProSoccerTalk we will be detailing what we love about each Premier League club competing in the 2019-20 season and next up is Wolves.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Each day we will release details on why who adore each team in particular as we remind ourselves just how awesome the PL is as we await its return following the suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

We love a lot about actual wolves, but let’s take a look at the capital-W variety of Premier League title hunters.


Wolves no stranger to glory: Wolves have history. The club staged a memorable run to the inaugural UEFA Cup final in 1972 (now the Europa League). After beating Juventus in the semis, Wolves fell in a thrilling two-legged final with Spurs. Wolves returned to the tournament thrice more but only advance past the first round once. The club hunted well in the 1950s, claiming the only three top-flight crowns of its 143-year existence. The three runners-up? Maybe none will surprise given the 60-year gap, but joining Manchester United were West Bromwich Albion and Preston North End.

Wolves fell as far as the fourth-tier in the 1980s before rising back to the Premier League for its launch in the 90s, then dipping into League One for a season in 2013/14. Now Nuno Espirito Santo has the club contending in the modern equivalent of two competitions it once won: the Premier League and Europa League.

Wolverhampton Wanderers
Wolverhampton Wanderers’ John Richards (second l) fires a shot at goal in the 1972 UEFA Cup Final (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)

Nuno Espirito Santo’s Portuguese powers: Wolves nearly breached 100 points in their Championship-winning season and Espirito Santo’s side almost immediately adapted to the top flight with stylish football and a seventh-place finish. The side has navigated their first super congested fixture list by staying alive deep into an active Europa League run; Espirito Santo has coaxed next level performances out of club without as much depth as expected out of a European contender, and it’s reasonable to speculate they’d be in the top four with one more year’s investment (and it’s not impossible they rebound after a few months off to recharge the batteries). There are no new contract talks yet, but there’s little reason to believe he’d leave for a substandard job. Wolves have invested in becoming the next big PL club, and Espirito Santo carries plenty of love from the supporters and hierarchy.

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The best player in CONCACAF: There is no North or Central American player anywhere near the form of Raul Jimenez right now. Christian Pulisic will want to make a claim to this soon, but El Tri’s Wolves striker is on another level. He’s already the club’s all-time leading scorer in PL matches. Not only has the 28-year-old Jimenez carved up Premier League and Europa League back lines, he’s doing it while chewing up minutes at a rate which would have many star strikers raising a white flag. Only Conor Coady, Joao Moutinho, and Rui Patricio have played more minutes for Wolves than Jimenez’s 3,564 in all competitions. All he’s done is score 22 goals with 10 assists. He’s roasting CONCACAF, too. Jimenez has 10 goals and six assists since the start of 2018, including five and four in Mexico’s six-match run to the Gold Cup crown. There is zero debate of his class amongst Mexican players.

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Transfer rumor roundup: Real Madrid to snatch up Haaland, Pogba

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A roundup of all of Friday’s biggest transfer rumors, including a few involving Premier League clubs…

[ MORE: Thursday’s transfer rumor roundup | Wednesday | Tuesday ]

When a player possessed world-class talent or potential, it feels like all roads eventually lead to Madrid — or, at least a chance to move to the Spanish capital. Sure, Erling Haaland is only 19 years old, but he’s already been earmarked as Real Madrid’s star striker for the next 10 or 15 years with Zinedine Zidane reportedly very keen on bringing the Norwegian to the Santiago Bernabeu this summer. It was inevitable from the moment he started scoring goals for Borussia Dortmund.


Speaking of Madrid restocking the pond full of world-class stars, Zidane also hopes to have Paul Pogba in his team when the 2020-21 season kicks off. With his current contract with Manchester United set to expire in just over 12 months, it’s now or never for Pogba to move elsewhere or re-up for another few years. Given the up-and-down nature (it’s mostly been down, if we’re honest) of his second stint at Old Trafford, Pogba seems a safe bet to make another big-money move this summer.


Wolverhampton Wanderers forward midfielder Raul Jimenez on speculation that he’ll leave the club this summer if they don’t qualify for the Champions League, via Facebook Live: “I have a contract [with Wolves] until 2023. It’s not that we have to qualify for the Champions League in order to stay. I’m good [here], happy with Wolves, doing important things — me as well as the whole team.”


Don’t be surprised if Arsenal make a decidedly Spanish turn in the coming transfer windows with Mikel Arteta at the helm. The former Gunners midfielder was a crafty technician himself and has a preference for similarly skilled players, based on reports of his interest in Valencia midfielder Carlos Soler. The 23-year-old has been a revelation for Valencia as they made their way into the Champions League knockout rounds for the first time since 2013, and clubs the size of Arsenal have certainly taken notice.


Pedro will leave Chelsea when his contract expires this summer, according to the player himself. The 32-year-old World Cup winner will almost certainly have a number of suitors at mid-tier European clubs as well as the Middle East and China.

Report: Real Madrid weighing up summer move for Wolves’ Raul Jimenez

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Raul Jimenez may be on his way back to Madrid, Spain this summer.

Wolverhampton Wanderers’ star striker is reportedly garnering interest from Spanish giants Real Madrid ahead of the summer transfer window, according to Spanish outlet Don Balón.

With Luka Jovic, who may be loaned out this summer in order to get minutes, and Mariano struggling to make wholesale impact as secondary options to Karim Benzema, Zinedine Zidane and company are reportedly weighing up a lucrative summer bid for the the former Atletico Madrid striker.

The 28-year-old Mexican has proven to be indispensable for Nuno Espirito Santo this season, scoring 22 goals and recording 10 assists in 44 matches across all competitions. In the 2018-2019 season, Jimenez registered 13 Premier League goals and eight assists, prompting Wolves to shell out a club-record $42 million purchase option via a loan agreement with Benfica.

Featuring 27 times for Los Colchoneros from 2014 to 2015, Jimenez, if a move to the Santiago Bernabeu were to materialize, would be the second Mexican to play for both Madrid giants, with Hugo Sanchez being the other. The striker would become the third Mexican to play for Los Blancos, joining Sanchez and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, who was on loan with the La Liga side during the 2014-15 season.

Last December, the Mexico international told Marca that he wouldn’t rule out a return to Spain’s top-flight, if the option were to arise: “No, never. I had a good experience there and I would like to go back at some point and try things again in La Liga. It is not something to rule out.”

Wolves, Brighton frustrated by scoreless draw

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Wolves and Brighton will both be salty after a 0-0 draw at the Molineux on Saturday.

The two sides had aims of improving their stock but combined for just two shots on target.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Wolves fail to move into fourth and have 43 points after the draw, while Brighton moves two points clear of the relegation zone ahead of a frightening run of fixtures.


Three things we learned

1. Seagulls running out of time: Graham Potter‘s men have been difficult to beat and picked up five draws, but their lack of wins during a seven-match lull in their schedule is alarming given what lies ahead. Brighton meets five top teams in its next six matches.

2. Wolves lack sharpness against lower-half: There have been too many draws against lower-half sides for a Wolves side capable of Champions League-caliber football. Nuno Espirito Santo‘s men have now drawn Brighton and Newcastle twice, Saints and Burnley once. Throw in a pair of draws with Leicester City, and you can see where the lack of full points have deprived the UEL contenders of a top four place.

3. Center backs stand out: There were five center backs between the two sides, and not one struggled at the Molineux. Connor Coady and Willy Boly performed exceptionally well for Wolves, especially the latter, while Lewis Dunk was his usual stalwart self for the Seagulls.

Man of the Match: Tie goes to the runner, er, visitor. Dunk.


It was a slow start at the Molineux, 20 minutes played before Rui Patricio made a comfortable save on Davy Propper.

Wolves grew into the game, with Raul Jimenez smashing the post and Ruben Neves missing high.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s men were able to work into open field as they like at times, but the Seagulls limited the danger.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

The manager introduced Adama Traore in the 64th minute.

The next chance went to Brighton, but Solly March slipped as he tried to get the ball on target.

Traore led a foray into the box that ended with a deflected Jimenez shot to Mathew Ryan.

In the Mixed Zone with JPW: Episode 3

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NBC Sports’ Pro Soccer Talk lead writer and editor Joe Prince-Wright shares his behind-the-scenes access into the Premier League mixed zones highlighting the intriguing interviews from this week’s marquee matches.

This week, JPW shares his mixed zone interviews from Wolves-Tottenham, Watford-Liverpool and Everton-Man United.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

He also spoke exclusively with Eric Dier who for the first time revealed that he is keen to play in his natural position at center back under Jose Mourinho, rather than in midfield.

“I have always been very politically correct on the subject because of many different reasons but I’ve come to a… It’s been something that isn’t new for me. The old manager knew where I stood for a long time about position and centre-back is where I see my future and I think where I can be the best I can be. With Pochettino, I started to play there this season, in the two games before he left, and I’m happy I got the chance to play there under Mourinho,” Dier said.

To listen to more from the mixed zone with Joe Prince-Wright as he takes you deep inside stadiums, subscribe to In the Mixed Zone with JPW Podcast on Apple Podcasts or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

And you can follow him on Twitter @JPW_NBCSports here.

Click here for In the Mixed Zone with archive ]

Click play below to listen to Episode 3 in full.