Unai Núñez Asks To Leave On Loan As A Condition To Sign Renewal
Unai Núñez wants to succeed at Athletic, but he also wants to play. At least that’s what he says. Over the past year the center-back has rejected three renewal offers from Athletic while being heavily linked with a move away. Núñez is under contract through 2023 and has a miniscule €30 million release clause, though the recent pandemic has made it less affordable.
The 23-year-old has grown increasingly unhappy with his lack of playing time. Manager Gaizka Garitano continues to bet on the partnership of Yeray and Iñigo Martínez, leaving Núñez as the third option. For the past year it’s seemed inevitable that Núñez would leave for another club, though he ensures that he wants to stay at San Mamés.
“I want to grow as a footballer and for that I need to play,” Núñez told“It’s totally false that I don’t want to renew. Athletic is my club, the club of the whole family, starting with my parents, we carry it in our hearts and what I want is to succeed here.”
Núñez also hopes to earn a place in the National Team for the upcoming European Championship as well as the Tokyo games. For that to happen he needs to play regular football. He doesn’t see that as a possibility right now at Athletic.
“I cannot afford a fourth year in a row without continuity. I want to succeed at Athletic but I think the best thing, what I need now, is to leave on loan and have continuity to return in a year as a better footballer. My main concern is to play. It doesn’t matter so much where as how much I can play. The more I play the better for Athletic.”
The Lezama product confirmed that he’s asked the club to leave on loan and if allowed he would sign a renewal. “My main condition to renew is that the club loans me to a team where I can be a starter,” he said. “I would rather go abroad, but what matters to me is playing. The best thing is to leave on loan and I have made that known to the president himself.”
Following the appeal, Athletic gave an immediate response. According to an exclusive report from Javier Ortiz De Lazcano of El Correo, Athletic rejected the request to send Núñez on loan. Having started 22 games last season, Núñez is counted on to be a key player for the team and the club has no intentions of letting him leave. The future of Unai Núñez remains in question, though he and Athletic plan to meet next week to discuss the situation.