Raul Jimenez has set his sights even higher next season – for himself and for Wolves.
The soon-to-be £32m club record signing was a huge success in his first campaign in England, top-scoring with 17 goals in all competitions. His 13 goals in the Premier League made him Wolves’ record scorer in the remodelled top flight in a season as Wolves finished seventh, their highest position for 39 years.
Wolves have already targeted Albion striker and Newcastle player of the year Salomon Rondon to compete with 28-year-old Jimenez next season.
But the Mexico international is already looking forward to any challenge to his place and wants to see another improvement from Nuno Espirito Santo’s side.
“We all know how and what to do,” said Jimenez. “We are looking forwards always, maybe next year is going to be better for us. I’m always trying to improve and do more things better than I did before.
“So I am always looking to improve. If I scored 12, 13, 14 goals now I am going to go for more next year. This is my first year here so hopefully the next one will be better.”
Jimenez and Diogo Jota really blossomed when they were paired up front together. Jota scored all 10 goals in his final 23 games of the season when they were playing in tandem after being goalless in his first 14 league and cup appearances of the campaign when Nuno was playing 3-4-3. Jimenez bagged 14 of his 17 club goals in his last 30 games and he is looking to continue that form next term.
“Since the beginning of the season we were looking for that,” he said. “It went a little bit in the middle of the season but now we have a very good partnership, we hope to continue like that.
“But without the other team-mates, this wouldn’t be possible.”
Jimenez admits he has had to step it up physically this season with the extra demands of the Premier League but he believes he is bettrt for it.
“Playing every week or half a week gives you some more physical capacity and mentality with the ball. You have to keep improving and giving your best,” he said.
“I think if you are playing then you are happy inside and outside of the pitch.”
Jimenez was always playing for the title in Portugal with Benfica, but he wasn’t always a regular in the team. He admits he finds his role more fulfilling at Molineux, being regarded as a more pivotal figure.
“It’s different and I think more competitive. At Benfica we were always playing for the title, here it’s different. But I like the style of play here,” he said.
“It’s a tough league but all the teams can beat each other. I’m very happy, it’s a privilege.
“This is what I was looking for since I arrived in Europe – playing an important part in a team. It was an easy decision for me. All of them making me feel like I’m at home.
“This was my opportunity since four years ago, and now I have it I’m not going to just let it go like that.”
Just 19 players kicked a ball for Wolves in the league in 2018-19 and Jimenez believes the united feel through the squad is a key factor in their success.
“I think we all have very good communication – we are like a big family,” added the striker. “I’m very proud of all my team-mates – all the people around the club are amazing.
“That gives us something on the pitch so we don’t have to be pre-occupied about it – all we think about is doing our best on the pitch.”