There are hundreds of foreign players that are linked with the Premier League every summer and there are few that haven’t been watched by an English scout at one time or another. Raul Jimenez has been at the centre of speculation in recent weeks, as Liverpool and West Ham United have both been linked with the Benfica striker. It is unknown whether either club has a serious interest, but he is open to a move to England and it is being reported in Portugal that he is expecting to receive a substantial offer from a Premier League club this summer.
The Mexican international started his career in his homeland as an exciting talent for Club America. He made his debut in 2011 and went on to be a regular goalscorer for the club. It became clear quickly that he would go on to play in Europe and in 2014, he transferred to Atletico Madrid. There are few better clubs than the La Liga side and it was a huge compliment to his potential that Diego Simeone moved for him. Although he didn’t feature as much as he would have liked, Simeone spoke highly of him as a player.
In the summer of 2015, he came close to signing for West Ham United, but he overslept and missed his flight to London. Then the possibility of a move to Benfica arose and he decided to move to Portugal. It has been a mixed time for him, as he has shown flashes of his ability, but he hasn’t always been able to hold down a starting place. Meanwhile, his goal record hasn’t been at the level that he would have hoped.
Jimenez is a powerful striker and he is a good option to have leading the line. His intimidating frame and strength allows him to dominate in the air. If he was to move to the Premier League, he possesses the attributes to adapt quickly to the league’s style. Although he is good in the air, he is also mobile when he has the ball at his feet. The Mexican international is agile and capable of escaping from tight spaces, with his impressive ball control. In Liga NOS last season, he scored a goal every 110.6 minutes, which is a good strike rate for any striker. When he was on the pitch, he showed good composure in front of goal.
He hasn’t been able to break into the Benfica team and become one of the important players at the club. Last season, he started only seven times in the league and that will be a disappointment. The striker will suggest that it was partly down to injuries, which is true, but there were other reasons for it too. His decision making can be questionable at times and the fact he hasn’t had a great season in Europe does create doubts about his ability.
Would he be a good signing for a Premier League club this summer?
His style of play and physicality suggest that he would be a good fit for the Premier League. Jimenez isn’t one to shirk a battle and given time, he possesses the attributes to deal with the physical style of the English top flight. However, it would be a risk for a club to bring him to these shores. He has never scored more than seven in a single season in European football. The Portuguese league is a good standard, but it isn’t as competitive as the Premier League. If he hasn’t been a leading player in Liga NOS, it is doubtful whether he could be here. Given the right coaching, he could be a good striker, but it would be a huge gamble. For a mid table team, it might be one worth taking. However, a team like Liverpool should be aiming higher.