Nuno Espirito Santo has paid tribute to Raul Jimenez, insisting he remains ‘humble’ despite becoming Wolves’ record scorer in a Premier League season.
Jimenez overtook Steven Fletcher’s total from 2011-12 when he scored his 13th league goal of the season in Saturday’s 2-1 win at Watford. The 27-year-old has netted 17 goals in all competitions this term, his first season in England.
Wolves will make the Mexico international their £32m club record signing this summer when his loan from Benfica becomes a permanent deal.
Head coach Nuno maintains that Jimenez is grounded, despite the huge success he has enjoyed since joining the club last summer.
“He’s been very good since the beginning. I think he adapted very well,” said the Molineux boss. “He was well received by the squad anyway, but especially for his performances and work ethic, the way he works for the team. Of course the goals have been very important for us and we’re delighted he is going to be with us in the future.
“He’s humble, knowing that all he achieves is for the team. He’s a humble person and a really ambitious player who wants to succeed and improve to get better.
“I faced him a couple of times in Portugal, and each time I saw quality and talent. I saw a player who works really hard, and we went for him. We made a deep analysis and signed him. Fortunately it has gone well.”
Wolves will have broken their transfer record five times in under three years since Fosun bought the club in 2016, by the time the deal for Jimenez is officially completed on July 1.
The arrival of Ivan Cavaleiro (£7m) was followed by Helder Costa (£13m), Ruben Neves (£15.8m) and Adama Traore (£18m) before Jimenez becomes the latest player to come under the microscope as a club record buy.
Nuno insists the fee doesn’t come into it – it’s all about each player proving himself.
“Money doesn’t matter; it’s about the players,” he said. “I don’t look at it this way – how much, what is the cost etc. We believe after a player gets in the squad, he has to prove himself and challenge himself because it’s about the way you work.”
Jimenez has now been involved in 20 of Wolves’ 46 goals in the Premier League this season including assists.
Nuno says they rely on the team rather than the input of one player however.
“We always rely on the team; it’s all about how we want to play and how we want to do things,” added the Portuguese. “Of course goals can come from different things – set-pieces, individual moments of talent, and movements of the team. We have to rely on what we are and what we want to do.”
Wolves have already amassed more points – 54 – than in any other Premier League season, and they two games left, at home to relegated Fulham on Saturday before a trip to title contenders Liverpool on the final day on Sunday, May 12.
Whatever happens, Nuno already has plenty of pride for the team’s achievements this season.
“It’s about what we have done and of course we are proud,” he said. “We started some time ago and we are really proud of the way they are doing things, but we still think we can improve.”