This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…
It may be stating the obvious but Raul Jimenez was a star for Wolves last season.
Initially being signed on loan from Benfica, the Mexican’s stay at Molineux was made permanent in a transfer that shattered their transfer record as he became a £30m player.
For someone who would go onto score 17 goals in all competitions during Wolves’ first campaign back in the top-flight, it was richly deserved.
Jimenez took to English football like a duck to water, using his physical prowess and finishing ability to become a favourite under Nuno Santo.
He was one of the main reasons Wolves managed to sustain their form throughout the season and finish in seventh place.
However, if Nuno’s men are going to break into the top six or even challenge in the Europa League, their fortunes could be down to another player very quickly surpassing Jimenez as the club’s main man.
That individual is Diogo Jota, someone who after struggling at the beginning of 2018/19, has started the new season in emphatic fashion.
The Portuguese is a special player and ended last term as their second top scorer despite not finding the net before December.
The 22-year-old scored ten times throughout the season but it wouldn’t be a great surprise if he bagged more in 2019/20.
After all, he already has two goals to his name in the Europa League, as well as finding the net twice against Newcastle in a pre-season win.
What typified the player Jota has become though occurred on Thursday night. The opposition may only have been Pyunik but the acrobatic shot he beat the ‘keeper with in a 4-0 win was phenomenal.
It bordered on the ridiculous and as Jimenez still battles back to full fitness following an arduous Gold Cup, Jota is arguably now the main man.
The arrival of Patrick Cutrone may well have put Jimenez’s place as the main centre forward slightly under threat, even if he has scored four goals in qualifying. Yet, it’s the more dynamic nature of Jota that implies the Mexican could be the man who drops out on a more regular basis.
If you don’t know the words to the Joao Moutinho chant in the video below, are you even a real Wolves fan?…
If you take into account he travels back to North America during the international break too, this is a feasible suggestion.
Against Leicester last weekend, Jota had three shots, completed five dribbles and made one key pass, per WhoScored.
The dynamism of his play is simply unrivalled in the Wolves team and he’ll be hugely important against Manchester United on Monday.
He ended last season with four goals in his last ten matches and he’s showed no indications that form will drop off this season.
At the age of 22, Jota has huge potential and has even been touted as someone who could replace Cristiano Ronaldo in the Portugal team once he retires.
For the time being, he is Wolves’ go-to man when they need something special.