Granada Weighing Up Move For Unai Núñez
Since moving up to the first team in 2017, Unai Núñez has been riding a confusing rollercoaster. The defender would go on to make 36 appearances in his debut campaign, but hasn’t enjoyed the same consistency in the years following. While featuring mainly as the 3rd-choice center-back, Núñez’s future at the club has always been in question.
For nearly two years Núñez refused to sign a new contract as several clubs showed serious interest. Ultimately, Núñez would put pen to paper late last year, extending his deal through 2025 and choosing not to include a release clause. At the time it appeared as though the drama was finally over.
After playing 31 games last season it seemed that Núñez’s place in the team was settled. That was, however, until Dani Vivian returned from loan over the summer. Following an impressive spell with Mirandes, Vivian has seemingly overtaken Núñez in the pecking order.
Even with Yeray out injured Núñez hasn’t seen the field. Instead, Vivian has started Athletic’s first two games of the season. Núñez hasn’t spoken publicly about his role, but other clubs are taking notice.
According to a report from Jose Manuel Monje of Onda Vasca, Granada have turned their gaze to Núñez. Tottenham’s interest in signing Domingos Duarte could leave Granada without a key defender and the club is already lining up Núñez as a potential replacement.
Seeing as how Núñez doesn’t have a release clause, Athletic have full control over the situation. It’s unlikely that the Lions would be willing to part with such as talented player, especially when it means strengthening a direct rival. Yeray’s ongoing knee injury is a factor to consider as well. On the other hand, if Granada were to make an enticing offer, Athletic just might be willing to entertain the idea.
If Athletic truly do see Núñez as the 4th option at center-back, then selling the 24-year-old isn’t such an outrageous thought. Having lost his place in the team, Núñez might also be willing to consider a move. Were Núñez to leave the club, someone like Peru Nolaskoain could take his spot in the team. Aitor Paredes isn’t quite ready for first team football at the moment, but newcomer Alex Petxarroman is also capable of filling in if needed.
Whether or not this interest goes any further remains to be seen. A move for Núñez would only happen if Duarte leaves Granada, and even then the decision will be up to Athletic and Núñez with just days until the transfer window closes. If the Basques are truly looking to fight for Europe then parting with Núñez makes little sense. Either way, his future at San Mamés is in question once again.