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Wolves can challenge for Champions League next season – Raul

Raul Jimenez believes Wolves can challenge for the Champions League next season.

The £32m club record signing made the bold claim that Nuno Espirito Santo’s side can gatecrash the top four at the press conference called to announce his permanent signing from Benfica, after signing a four-year deal.

Wolves are currently seventh in the Premier League and in the FA Cup semi-finals this Sunday when they face Watford, but more investment on top of the £165m Fosun have spent on transfers is expected in the summer.

This is our first time in the Premier League for a while, but we are doing well, so why not think about aiming for the Champions League or the top six?” said the 27-year-old striker.
“Why not? We have very good players, we have a good team that can compete.
“We have to think the best things we can. If we qualify for the Europa League that would be amazing. I have never played in that tournament.”
“Since I arrived here, I’ve seen the team is growing. The chairman too is doing good things. Now we were seventh, for a promoted team that’s very good.”

Jimenez becomes Wolves’ record signing by some distance, almost doubling the previous record set by the £18m they paid Middlesbrough for Adama Traore last August and matched in January by the arrival of Jonny Castro Otto from Atletico Madrid.

But the Mexico international insists he does not feel any pressure at the size of the fee.

No, it’s an extra opportunity for me to show how good I am,” he said. “I don’t know who makes the value of the players, but if that’s the cost, I will try to prove my value is good.”

Negotiations have been ongoing for several weeks to make the move into a permanent transfer. Jimenez might well have had the pick of more clubs if he had waited until the summer but is delighted to be committing his future to Wolves.

I am happy here at Wolves. I have signed to be a permanent player here and I am here to do well,” he added.

We will see after what happens, but being here is a great opportunity for me to be an important part of the team and I want to enjoy it.

From the beginning we were talking about it (permanent move).
“Since I arrived I played well, the one thing that was missing was goals. I started scoring so they started to move to sign me.”

Jimenez’s move has made Wolves hugely popular in his native Mexico. Already the Wolves Facebook page has more visitors from Mexico than it does from England.

Wolves are very popular. I have received messages all of the time asking me where they can find the tops and stuff about Wolves!” he said.

I think Twitter of Wolves and the Twitter of Spanish Wolves are increasing very fast!

We have more people in Mexico than here, so maybe that’s the reason! All the supporters who support me in Mexico, now support Wolves!”

It was difficult for us because people in Mexico know Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea, but now I’m here, I think we are making people around the world talk about us and that makes me feel so, so good.”

Jimenez plans to buy his team-mates a slap-up meal to celebrate his move being made permanent, though he confesses that might be on hold with the semi-final looming.

Maybe I can do something. My team-mates are asking me to take them out to dinner, so maybe I have to pay for them! In the next few days,” he said.

It will only be something like that because we are in the middle of the season and we have to stay focused.”

Jimenez appeared at the press conference with his left hand bandaged but joked he was fine to sign his contract as he is right-handed and said it was only a minor problem.