Raul Jimenez’s fractured horror skull cost the Wolves forward “the chance of a huge blow”, it has been claimed.
The Mexican had to undergo emergency surgery after an accidental head-to-head clash with then-Arsenal defender David Luiz in the Emirates last year.
It was nine months before Jimenez could play for Wolverhampton Wanderers again, and he still wears a helmet as a legacy of the incident.
He’ll be back in action for Wolves when Everton are at Molineux tomorrow night (8pm kick-off), but a coach in Jimenez’s early years in Mexico believes he would now play for one of Europe’s elite clubs. without his accident.
Alfredo Tena was a coach at Club America in Mexico City, where Jimenez spent his formative years as a player.
The pair have remained in touch after the 64-year-old was instrumental in securing his first international opportunity for Jimenez for Mexico’s Under-20s ten years ago.
And Tena insists the 30-year-old missed a major blow due to his long-term injury.
He told The Sun: “I know a lot of powerful clubs were watching him and the injury came at a really bad time in his career.
“I’m sure he missed the jump to one of the giant clubs in Europe because of it and probably missed the chance for a huge move now.
“The really big guys don’t spend huge amounts of money on players over 30, so that’s good news for Wolves.”
Jimenez joined Wolves in 2019 from Portugal’s Benfica side for around £ 30million, but had already spent a season-long loan at Molineux.
Read more: Wolves fans agree with Keane on Nuno and Spurs
Read More: Wolves vs Everton Kick-off Time & TV Channel Details
He has made just under 120 appearances for Old Gold since his first loan and scored 49 goals in all competitions as Wolves came out of the league to become an established Premier League side.
Although he has only scored once in nine appearances this season, Tena is confident Jimenez will return to his best form soon, and cited an example of his determination to overcome adversity earlier in his career.
He added: “When he was only 16, Raul was not a big boy, but it never bothered us because we knew he was going to grow up, and he did.
“But when he did, he lost coordination and became clumsy. He had problems with his patellar tendon and had a stinky few months.
“We started to have doubts because the same injury ruined the chances of a lot of other kids and it could have ended his career before it even started.
“But he showed real character to stand up for himself, so I never doubted he would do it this time around either.
“Raul is a warrior and he won’t give up easily.”
Read more: Wolves have ‘conversations’ over Man United transfer
Read more: Lage Reveals Neto’s Boost Before Everton Shock