Athletic And Unai Nuñez Still Far Apart On Contract Renewal
Unai Nuñez is currently preparing to start Friday night’s La Liga opener against Barcelona alongside Yeray. With Iñigo Martinez currently dealing with a muscle injury, the 22-year-old will once again be able to enjoy minutes after barely seeing the field last season. It’s clear that Nuñez has the quality to be a regular starter, but the competition above him and lack of European football have made it hard for him to play on a consistent basis.
The situation has attracted the attention of other clubs as well. Last season, three clubs from England contacted Athletic with interest in signing Nuñez either on loan or outright but were unwilling to meet his €30 million release clause. This summer Athletic has made it a priority to improve the defender’s contract and significantly raise his release clause and the two sides have been in talks for several weeks.
According to sources close to the situation, Athletic and Nuñez are still negotiating but are far apart on reaching an agreement. The exact details aren’t known, but the 22-year-old likely wants some form of guarantee that he will be able to play regularly and for his wages to match a much higher release clause. Athletic are said to be confident that other clubs aren’t willing to pay Nuñez’s clause in the final weeks of the summer transfer window which gives them more time to work out a deal.
Whether or not the two sides will reach an agreement remains to be seen. Nuñez certainly has the quality to become one of the best defenders in La Liga, but that won’t happen if he doesn’t have the chance to be on the field consistently. Meanwhile, a great performance on Friday night against Barcelona could attract even more interest. Unai Nuñez has publically stated that he wants to succeed at Athletic, his boyhood club, though he also wants to play.