Reported Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Ham United target Unai Nunez is keen to leave Athletic Bibao on loan before the transfer window closes, he has told AS.
In the eyes of Spain coach Luis Enrique, it’s a case of “Sergio Ramos and one other”.
The Real Madrid talisman remains the first name on the team sheet for the Spanish national team but, with less than a year remaining until the European Championships kick off, Ramos continues to shift between a rotating cast of centre-back partners.
Pau Torres, Eric Garcia, Diego Llorente and Inigo Martinez have all been given a chance to stake their claim of late.
And, with so much competition for a place in Enrique’s squad let alone the starting XI, Nunez is fully aware he can’t afford to spend the 2020/21 season on the bench at the San Mames.
His only Spain cap came in 2019 and, tellingly, Nunez was left out of Spain’s 23-man squad for the UEFA Nations League fixtures against Germany and Ukraine earlier this month.
“That is what worries me the most right now,” says Nunez, who started just 16 La Liga games last term.
“At 23 years old, what I need is to play many games, many minutes, to continue progressing as a player and achieve my best performance.
“The message (from Athletic coach Gaizka Garitano) is that, right now, I am third-choice centre-back.
“Let it be clear. I want to renew (my contract) but, above all, I want to grow as a footballer and for that I need to play. For this reason, and because I believe (it is) the best thing for everyone, my main condition for renewing is the club loans me to a team in which I would be a protagonist.
“I think the best thing, what I need now, is to leave on loan and have continuity before returning in a year as a better footballer.”
AS reported in July that West Ham were interested in the classy and commanding Nunez.
And if Athletic are willing to grant him a loan, a short-term deal would save the Hammers from being forced to splash out a huge sum on a new centre-back, with Burnley’s £50 million-rated James Tarkowski proving to be out of their reach.
Wolves are also interested and, according to The Times, Nuno’s side are planning an offer of their own.
Interestingly, Nunez says he would prefer to move abroad rather than join one of Athletic’s La Liga rivals.
Wolves opening fixtures of 2020/21 season
Sheffield United (A)
Manchester City (H)
West Ham (A)