MANCHESTER UNITED were dealt a transfer blow as Juventus and Real Madrid stepped up their pursuit of Raul Jimenez, according to reports.
The Wolves striker, 29, is attracting plenty of attention with his performances and goalscoring in both the Premier League and Europa League.
Jimenez’s agent Jorge Mendes has a good relationship with both Wolves and Juventus, brokering plenty of deals over recent years including Cristiano Ronaldo’s in 2018.
But Calcio Mercato say Juventus were taken aback by Wolves’ £54million asking price.
The Old Lady are looking for a new striker with Gonzalo Higuain ready to leave the club.
And they identified Jimenez as well as the Coppa Italia shootout winner Arkadiusz Milik, valued at £40m by Napoli.
Despite Karim Benzema smashing the goals in, Real Madrid are also keen on the 81-cap Mexico international, who signed for Wolves from Benfica, intially on loan in 2018 before making his switch permanent in a club-record £32m deal last summer.
Jimenez recently admitted he is “open to everything” and that a move to Real Madrid or Barcelona would be of interest to him due to his unfinished business in Spain but his father insisted there is no concrete chance of him switching clubs this summer.
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The Wolves star told actress Jessica Coch on Youtube: “It is something very cool, I do not know if they will be true, they are rumours.
“Since they are talking about me, different teams like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool – they are teams that are important in football history.
“It is an incredible thing to be on the radar and on the lips of those teams. It is something good for me to continue growing, making an effort and taking it as an incentive so that, if possible, I can achieve it.”
The forward was pressed to choose his dream club but he didn’t give much away incase it came back to bite him in the future.
He added: “My dream team? Whatever one that signs me would be incredible.
“Imagine that right now I tell you one and in the end I go to the rival, they will reproach me all the time, I will get into trouble!”
Manchester United bosses see Jimenez as an ideal man to come in and fill the void left by the departure of Romelu Lukaku last summer.
Odion Ighalo’s loan was extended until January 2021 but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would surely jump at the chance to snap Jimenez up – if they can get to the front of the queue.
On Saturday Jimenez became the first Wolves player to score 14 Premier League goals in a single campaign with his vintage header against West Ham.
That took his tally to 40 goals in 89 appearances for the Molineux club, with his 23 in all competitions this season already bettering his previous best tally of 19 for America in Mexico in 2013/14.
Pedro Neto added a stunning volley late on to secure a 2-0 win for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side at the London Stadium.
The victory moved Wolves level on points with fifth-placed Manchester United before Sheffield United’s trip to Newcastle – as things stand fifth would be good enough for a Champions League spot due to Manchester City’s Uefa ban.
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Jimenez still has another three years left to run on his contract at Wolves, meaning the club will be able to put their foot down and not be strong-armed into selling.
However, should they decide to cash in, they will need to line up a replacement.
Reports linked Benfica and Brazilian striker Carlos Vinicius with a move to the Black Country – but the Portuguese side seem unwilling to negotiate below the £89m release clause for their man who is also a target for the Red Devils.