Arsenal and Everton are interested in signing Athletic Bilbao defender Unai Nunez, according to reports.
The Daily Mail claims the two Premier League clubs are set to battle it out for Nunez, who is thought to have a £30m release clause in his current contract.
Who is Unai Nunez? Five things to know…
- Age: 22
- Position: Centre-back
- Nationality: Spanish
- Bilbao appearances: 54
- International caps: 1
The 22-year-old joined the Bilbao academy at the age of 10 and, like every footballer who plays for the club, was born in the Basque region of Spain.
He broke into the B team, then playing in the Segunda Division 2, in 2016/17 and made 33 appearances before making the step up to Bilbao’s senior side.
Nunez played 36 times across all competitions in the 2017/18 season, during which he was rewarded with a new six-year contract.
However, last season he found his game time severely reduced, making just 15 appearances as a result of falling behind other centre-backs in the pecking order.
His campaign finished on a strong note, though, as he won the European Under-21 Championship with Spain.
Nunez’s performances at the tournament are what apparently attracted admiring glances from the likes of Arsenal, Everton and other clubs across Europe.
In September, he made his debut for the Spanish senior team against the Faroe Islands, coming on as a late substitute for Sergio Ramos.
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Arsenal are still on the lookout for a long-term replacement for Laurent Koscielny, who departed in the summer, though William Saliba could be the answer when he returns from his loan spell at St-Etienne.
David Luiz has made an impact in the Arsenal backline, but at 32 he may not be a regular starter for long at the Emirates.
Meanwhile, Everton are also in need of a centre-back with Michael Keane, Yerry Mina and Mason Holgate the only options at present.
Reports in Spain suggest Bilbao want to drastically increase Nunez’s release clause to prevent his suitors from signing him on the cheap, so Arsenal and Everton may have to move quickly.
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