Club América have finally announced the transfer of 23-year-old striker, Raúl Jiménez to Atlético Madrid after weeks of speculation. Bids from Porto and Wolfsburg had already been rejected but now a fee in the region of $13 million has landed Liga MX’s hottest striker.
Jiménez has signed a 6-year-deal with the reigning La Liga Champions and now follows the path of Mexican legend, Hugo Sánchez, who made the move from Pumas to Atlético in 1981.
The current Liga MX top goal scorer has started this season’s Apertura in fine form but while he will be a huge loss to Las Aguilas, the 23-year-old is still relatively unknown outside Mexico.
Had it not been for Jiménez, El Tri would perhaps not have been in Brazil at the World Cup where so many of their other players stole the headlines. The spectacular bicycle kick winner against Panama made qualification a possibility but the fact that he did not feature much in Brazil meant that he did not quite catch the eye as some may have expected.
Not being particularly known does not mean that Atlético have necessarily overpaid though. Jiménez is a supreme talent and has the attributes to be a huge success in Europe.
At 6 foot 3 inches, Jiménez is a big target to play up front alone or with a strike partner but he is so much more than just a “big man”. His aforementioned bicycle kick illustrates his fine technique but he also excels with the ball at his feet. A big centre forward capable of scoring headers, close range poachers goals and long range efforts with both feet is the most precious of commodities.
His selflessness was evident in his early partnership for América alongside Ecuadorian, Christian ‘Chucho’ Benítez and he is equally capable of dropping deep to contribute to build up play and work for the team.
It is these exact attributes that will not have been missed by Atlético manager, Diego Simeone, a manager who demands this type of application and technique from his players.
Jiménez becomes the next of the Olympic winning generation to make the big step up to European football but is more than equipped with the skills to make this jump.
Given his recent Twitter faux-pas in supporting Real Madrid, Jiménez might not get the red carpet treatment from some of Atlético’s fans but provided he comes through this he could prove to be an excellent piece of business.
His most recent Twitter statement is more to the liking of his new club: “Now I arrive at one of the most important clubs in Spain, the current La Liga Champions and I am going to give my best to triumph.”
Provided Jiménez applies himself and is given the opportunity he could well be a star for both Atlético and Mexico for many years to come.