Unai Núñez Makes Spain Debut In Win Over The Faroe Islands
As a club, Athletic are blessed with an embarrassment of riches when it comes to defenders. Ander Capa and Yuri Berchiche have been arguably the best right-back and left-back in La Liga this season while the trio of Iñigo Martinez, Yeray, and Unai Núñez are all top level center-backs in Europe. With so much depth at the back it’s been difficult for Nuñez to see regular playing time but the 22-year-old continues to get the recognition he deserves.
Núñez started alongside Yeray in the opening two matches of the season due to an injury to Iñigo Martinez. Not only did the Lezama product play exceptional football, he outperformed Yeray over the 180 minutes. As expected, Martinez was brought back into the lineup after receiving the green light to return but Núñez had shown enough to convince Spain manager Robert Moreno to call him up to the National Team for the EURO 2020 qualifiers.
Over the summer Núñez helped lead Spain’s U21 side to a European Championship and on Sunday the 22-year-old made his National Team debut. Nuñez came on late in the second half to replace Sergio Ramos as Spain rolled to a 4-0 win over The Faroe Islands. It was certainly interesting to see Núñez called up over both Yeray and Martinez, although it’s further proof of Athletic’s impressive depth at center-back.
Along with making his Spain debut, Núñez has also attracted interest from other clubs. Back in January a few teams from England were said to be interested in signing the defender but Athletic naturally refused to negotiate and demanded the player’s €30 million release clause. Núñez didn’t receive any further offers to leave over the summer but his future at San Mamés is in question at the moment.
Unai Núñez wants to succeed at Athletic, his boyhood club, but he also wants to play. For the moment it’s difficult to enjoy regular minutes with Yeray and Martinez in his way and without European competition. Athletic and Núñez have been in renewal talks since the summer without being able to reach an agreement for an improved contract, but the two sides are expected to resume talks after the international break.
The club wants to significantly increased Núñez’s release clause which would also come with much higher wages. Núñez’s goal is to continue at San Mamés but for that to happen the two sides will need to finalize a new contract and convince the starlet that he will have more opportunities to play moving forward. Unai Núñez is the 102nd Athletic player to make his debut for the Spanish National Team.