Juventus Set to Rival Manchester United for Signing of Wolves' Raul Jimenez

Raul Jimenez
Tottenham Hotspur v Wolverhampton Wanderers - League | Harriet Lander/Copa/Getty Images

Juventus have emerged as Manchester United's rivals in the battle to sign Wolves striker Raul Jimenez.

Both clubs are keen to take advantage of the depressed market as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the majority of Europe's elite unlikely to spend large sums of cash amid economic uncertainty.

Gonzalo Higuain, Maurizio Sarri
Gonzalo Higuain's most productive season of his career came under Maurizio Sarri at Napoli | Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images

The Times understand the Bianconeri are keen on replacing Gonzalo Higuain ahead of next season, with the 32-year-old enduring an unproductive campaign in Maurizio Sarri's debut campaign at the helm - scoring just five times in Serie A.

The Italian giants are eager on getting such a high earner - Higuain earns €7.5m a season on a contract that runs until the summer of 2021- off their wage bill in favour of a more productive forward, and have identified Jimenez as a potential target.

The same report also notes that Wolves are open to selling Jimenez, despite the Mexican establishing himself as a key part of Nuno Espirito Santo's side since his arrival from Benfica in 2018.

He initially arrived on a season-long loan before making the permanent switch to Molineux for £34m last summer.

Raul Jimenez
Raul Jimenez has scored 13 times in the Premier League this season | Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

The 29-year-old has scored 39 times in 88 appearances for the Midlands-based outfit in all competitions.

Manchester United are also admirers of the Mexican as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer goes about finding the ideal number nine to spearhead his reign at Old Trafford.

With this season's top scorer Marcus Rashford significantly more effective in a left-wing role, Solskjaer was left with just one senior centre-forward option for much of the first half of the campaign in the form of Anthony Martial.

And despite attempts to draw Erling Braut Haaland to the club in January, United were eventually forced to settle with a loan deal for former Watford striker Odion Ighalo as an emergency cover option for Martial, with the Nigerian forward enjoying a bright start to life in Manchester before the suspension of play.

Juan Mata
Odion Ighalo has impressed since his January loan move, scoring twice in the Europa League | UEFA - Handout/Getty Images

Ighalo, however, is set to return to Chinese Super League outfit Shanghai Shenua at the end of June, only enhancing United's need for the addition of at least one new number nine in the next window.