SCOUT REPORT: Who Is Everton Target Raúl Jiménez?

SCOUT REPORT: Who Is Everton Target Raúl Jiménez?
Jul 7, 2017

Benfica Featured

In the summer of 2015, Raúl Jiménez was wanted by several Premier League clubs, especially West Ham, but the Mexican international decided to join Benfica. The Portuguese club offered Atlético Madrid €9M for 50% of the player rights and later on, Benfica would pay a total of €22M to fully own Raúl’s rights.

Benfica fans were incredibly excited to see Raúl in action. With the loss of Lima, Jonas needed a partner and Mitroglou & Jiménez would fight for that spot. Earlier in the season, both players were in and out of the lineup but Raúl was more effective coming off the bench, lighting a spark on the team and scoring crucial goals when needed (3-2 win against Moreirense at home was propelled by him). Eventually, Mitroglou would establish himself as a starter because Raúl couldn’t continue to show his ability when starting, being used as a super sub.

Raúl still saw significant game time starting in a few league games, and in the Champions League where he played against his old team, Atlético Madrid. Raúl had a terrific game and showed his incredible hardworking ability, tracking back all the way to Benfica’s box to help defend, he was also very mobile in the game, providing plenty of passing lanes and opening spaces for teammates. In the champions league, he also faced Bayern and allowed Benfica to dream when he scored to open the lead and put Benfica 1-1 on aggregate.

It cannot be underestimated the influence Raúl had on Benfica winning the Tri (3rd league title in a row) with vital goals against Académica (90th minute) and Rio Ave (70th minute). Raúl was also important in the conquest of the league cup scoring in the group stage, the semi-final and the final of the competition, he was the best goal scorer with 4 goals in 5 games. Jiménez finished the season with 45 games played (only 15 starts), 12 goals and 5 assists. Not amazing for a striker but most of his goals were very important to the team, however, he missed a few sitters and his finishing ability definitely needed works. Goals didn’t define him though, as he’s a very mobile striker opening up spaces for teammates to finish their chances while he was used as bait.

Mitroglou got the nod to start over Raúl due to his great season (the Greek had 20+ goals) but after a poor start by Mitroglou, Jiménez took over the starting role next to Jonas. He definitely took advantage of being in the starting lineup as he scored in most of the games he played in, improving his lack of finishing ability that forced him out of the lineup last year, he also looked more comfortable next to Jonas, Pizzi and Cervi, creating playing habits with them.

Unfortunately for him, an injury that he sustained whilst playing for Mexico cut his great start off, being relegated to the second option again. Still, Jiménez showed us during this year that despite being called a €22M “flop” by Benfica’s rival fans, he still contributed with key goals against Rio Ave, Estoril and Sporting, all of those were winning goals as well.

Jiménez played 32 games (9 starts), scoring 11 goals and providing 3 assists.He was more clinical than the past season and was clearly becoming Benfica’s best striker next to Jonas but unfortunately for him, his injury pushed him back denying him a breakout year. Raúl has had two seasons with Benfica, playing a total of 77 games, tallying up 23 goals and 8 assists. Are those numbers good enough to persuade British teams to pay €50M? Maybe. Is he worth that? Right now he isn’t, but he’s got a lot of upside to him.

Positives:

  • Raúl is a fighter, he’s a hardworking player that understands all phases of the game and doesn’t mind tracking back and defending.
  • Never gives up on a play and has a tremendous engine.
  • He’s a clinical striker, despite struggling in 2015. Raúl improved his finishing ability, scoring difficult goals with ease.
  • He’ll still miss from time to time but all strikers do. It isn’t a negative for him.
  • He has a great heading ability.
  • His ability to drop back to the middle of the field allows teams to run in transition really well and smoothly.
  • He’s a penalty specialist.

Negatives:

  • Raúl roams around a lot, he’s not always in the box despite sometimes being the only striker on the field, although his mobility should be a positive, sometimes that hurts the team more than it helps especially given the fact that Benfica already has a mobile striker in Jonas.
  • Bad sense of positioning, this comes with what I said before. You might be losing 1-0 with 10 minutes to go and Jiménez will be on the wings crossing the ball instead of being in the box to finish said crosses.
  • He doesn’t have a good passing ability.
  • Sometimes he’s also clumsy with the ball at his feet.
  • More often than not he takes bad shots instead of passing.

Overall, Jiménez can become a very good striker, however, he needs to work on his mobility issues and sense of positioning. Injuries weren’t an issue until last season, so to say that he’s injury prone would be wrong – but he needs to take care of himself so he can have more game time. His finishing ability is impressive meaning he won’t miss sitters which is a credit to Vitória and his staff because Raúl was ineffective his first season, scoring screamers and missing open shots. My favourite trait of his is his unselfishness, he’ll never complain about missing game time, he always tries to help the team and most importantly he defends, he’s a workhorse with the ability to become an elite player.

He has all the traits to succeed in the Premier League, whether he becomes an elite striker is up to him, but as of right now, Raúl would make an immediate impact to any mid-table side. He’s a very physical player with good stamina and would be able to tire out a lot of defences in England, with the only question being how clinical he can be in England?

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