Popular Wolves centre-forward now set to leave with Lopetegui’s £42m replacement already lined up

Raul Jimenez and Hwang Hee-chan

Wolves striker Raul Jimenez has reportedly got the green light for a January transfer away from Molineux after falling out of favour with manager Julen Lopetegui.

The Spanish coach had previously voiced his concerns over Jimenez’s decision to play in the World Cup, after featuring just twice for Wolves this season due to injury.

Now, the West Midlands side have allegedly lined up a big-money replacement in Matheus Cunha, who has been heavily linked with the club in recent days.

In November, Lopetegui criticised Jimenez’s decision to play for Mexico in Qatar given the risk of exasperating an injury which he had not yet fully recovered from.

The Spaniard said: “It’s his decision, no problem. And I understand. But, of course, I told him my thoughts. He is not fit at this moment because he has been injured and he hasn’t played any minutes for two or three months. Two or three very important months.

“I understand, of course, that players want to go to the World Cup. I understand the country puts pressure on them to go. But, in the end, you have to be able to play well and you have to show this for your club team first.

“I want, when he comes back, for him to be fit for us. I am worried about that, of course, because Raul is an important player for us for sure.” 

According to Mexican outlet W Desportesthe decision has since been made that Jimenez is available for transfer in the January window, albeit for a hefty price tag of £30m.

Jimenez out, Cunha in for Wolves?

The decision to let the Mexican leave will leave room for another striker at the club and Wolves have already made it clear that they are keen on Atletico Madrid forward Matheus Cunha.

Twitter transfer guru Fabrizio Romano has already confirmed that talks are underway for the West Midlands club to sign the Atletico forward, for a fee of around £42m.

Cunha has reportedly become frustrated by a lack of game time at Atletico, with manager Diego Simeone affording him just 310 minutes in the league this season, using him mostly as a late substitute.

This, ultimately, is a key reason why the 23-year-old has been left out of Brazil’s World Cup squad.

Wolves are not the only team looking to sign the striker, with Everton, Crystal Palace and Aston Villa also interested.

However, Cunha has reportedly declared he is keen on working with Lopetegui, so the West Midlands could be his favoured destination.

Last season, Jimenez scored six goals and provided four assists in 34 appearances for Wolves, while Cunha scored six and assisted six in 29 matches for Atletico.

Cunha is a different style of player. The Brazilian is good with his feet and has typical South American flair when driving forward with the ball, as opposed to Jimenez, who is a more traditional central striker.

At the end of the day, what Wolves need are goals, and Lopetegui will be hoping Cunha can add the firepower necessary to bounce back from a dismal start to the Premier League campaign.

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