Unai Núñez Staying At Athletic Club
The future of Unai Núñez has been the biggest topic of conversation throughout Bilbao over the past few months. With Yeray and Iñigo Martinez chosen ahead of Núñez, the defender became increasingly frustrated with his role in the team and limited minutes. Núñez regularly stated that he wanted to succeed at his boyhood club, but he also wanted to play.
A number of clubs were willing to give Núñez the opportunity to leave Athletic and enjoy a more prominent role. West Ham offered to pay his minuscule €30 million release clause while others such as Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, and Arsenal were also linked with interest. Athletic have spent the entire month knowing that Núñez could choose to move elsewhere and an answer has finally arrived.
According to an exclusive report from Sergio Santos Chozas of AS, Unai Núñez has informed Athletic that he will not be leaving the club this month. The Lezama product has rejected offers from other teams in favor of continuing at San Mamés where he has been given more consistent minutes in recent weeks.
Núñez never wanted to leave the club that he’s supported since he was a child, but the lack of opportunities caused him to seriously consider an exit. However, things have changed over the past month with Gaizka Garitano regularly fielding a lineup with three center-backs with Núñez at the heart of the back line. The 23-year-old has started four of the team’s six games in January which, along with positive conversations with the manager, is said to have improved his outlook on the situation.
The decision to reject other offers and stay at Athletic is massive, but there’s still work to be done. Clubs like Bayern Munich are still believed to be interested in trying to sign Núñez in the summer and Athletic are eager to improve the defender’s contract and significantly raise his low release clause. The remainder of the season, and possible European qualification, will heavily influence whether or not Unai Núñez chooses to sign a new deal or reconsider his long-term future with Athletic Club. But for now, Núñez se queda.