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Quartet in the running to be Wolves’ player of the season

By Joe Edwards | Wolves | Published:

The 2019/20 season has ended, so who was Wolves’ best player over the course of it?

Raul Jimenez scored 27 goals (AMA)

Plenty performed at a high level for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side as they finished seventh in the Premier League and got to the Europa League quarter-finals.

The club are expected to be opening the vote for the supporters’ player of the year gong imminently, too.

Now, let’s go over the genuine contenders for the award and outline who the winner should be.

Raul Jimenez

What a campaign for Wolves’ Mexican goal machine.

Jimenez was phenomenal, more often than not leading the line on his own – scoring, assisting and working his socks off along the way.

In total, the 29-year-old found the net 27 times and set up another 10 goals in 55 appearances in all competitions.

Looking at it in another way, he was involved in 37 of Wolves’ 91 goals.

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What makes those numbers even more impressive is the fact that he barely had a pre-season last summer, given he had helped Mexico win the Gold Cup.

Jimenez has been relentless, and ever so reliable.

After the restart, you would say his performance levels as a whole had taken a bit of a dip as he understandably looked fatigued, but he still came up with moments of magic.

You only have to look at Burnley – a game which ended in devastating fashion, of course – and how he thundered home a stupendous volley despite barely having a kick for most of the game.

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An absolute match-winner and one of the best centre forwards around, he is a huge contender for the coveted prize.

Adama Traore

What a turnaround from the Spaniard, who tore defences apart limb from limb for a massive chunk of the season.

Adama Traore tore defences apart (AMA)

Traore never got going in his first term in gold and black and, to many, looked a lost cause – but an immense work ethic on the player’s part and belief from Nuno saw him evolve into one of Europe’s most devastating wingers.

Nobody else possesses such sheer speed and strength.

His end-product improved immensely, as he finished with six goals and 12 assists in all competitions.

Defenders, having no other way to stop him, so often cynically took him out for blatant yellow cards – but Traore did not complain, even once.

A demanding campaign took its toll on him eventually, with his post-pandemic displays not quite so rip-roaring – four shoulder dislocations throughout 2019/20 not helping.

But, overall, a brilliant year for the 24-year-old who is also well in with a shout.

Ruben Neves

If you were basing the award on just 2020, Neves would probably come out on top.

The Portuguese midfielder has been excellent since the turn of the year.

His on-the-ball work has always been of a magnificent standard, but now his output when out of possession is right up there, too.

Ruben Neves has been superb in 2020 (AMA)

A stupendous strike against Espanyol, a serious contender for goal of the season, added to an already extensive catalogue of wonder goals.

His crossfield pass to Diogo Jota in the win over Everton towards the end of the term was breath-taking, too.

Neves started the season slowly, which may count against him in terms of winning the gong, but his second half of the season was spectacular.

Rui Patricio

It would be a surprise to see goalkeeper Patricio win it, to be fair, but he definitely deserves a mention for how consistent he has been.

The experienced shot-stopper did not make any mistakes of note and kept 19 clean sheets in 53 games, which is some going.

In his first season, Patricio struggled in terms of distribution and aerial presence – but those areas have been sharpened up.

Patricio is now one of the most well-rounded keepers you will find in the Premier League.

Rui Patricio has kept 19 clean sheets (AMA)

He has made some fantastic saves – the two against Olympiacos recently sticking out. Such a safe pair of hands.

And the winner should be...

All things considered, for me, it has to be Jimenez.

His goals and link-up play have been crucial to Wolves.

Other clubs, you have to think, will be taking a look at him, but hopefully the club can set their stall out and he will stay.

It was a shame, and a shock, not to see him score the penalty against Sevilla on Tuesday. On the whole, though, he has been marvellous. Truly top-drawer.

Joe Edwards

By Joe Edwards
Multi-Media Sports Journalist

Wolves fan turned Wolves correspondent for the Express & Star.

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