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Everton are back in the race for Spain international Unai Nunez after the centre-back admitted his desire to leave Athletic Bilbao on loan, as reported by Mundo Deportivo.

This is not the first, and probably not the last, time that the highly-rated 23-year-old stopper has been tipped for a move to Goodison Park.

But a pair of intriguing interviews which made headlines in England and Spain alike have breathed fresh life into reports linking the once-capped La Roja starlet with the Merseyside giants.

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On Wednesday, Nunez made it clear that he plans to leave Athletic on loan before the transfer window slams shut (AS).

After starting just 16 La Liga games this season, and being told by Bilbao boss Gaizka Garitano that he is the third-choice centre-half heading into 2020/21, Nunez fears that the lack of regular first-team football could cost him a place in Spain’s European Championships squad.

Just a few hours later, Everton coach Carlo Ancelotti expressed his desire to sign a new central defender with injuries leaving Michael Keane and Yerry Mina as the club’s only fully fit defenders (Reuters).

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So, in truth, it would be more of a surprise if the Toffees were not in the race to sign Nunez before the October deadline.

Keane and Mina might have stood strong as Everton secured a 1-0 win at Tottenham on the opening day of the campaign but the £30 million pair are never far away from a blunder or two.

While Jarrad Branthwaite has lived up to the hype during his first few senior appearances in the blue shirt, relying on an unproven 18-year-old is never a great situation to be in.

Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

Everton’s opening fixtures of the 2020/21 season

  1. Tottenham (A)

    September 12

  2. West Brom (H)

    September 19

  3. Crystal Palace (A)

    September 26

  4. Brighton (H)

    October 3

  5. Liverpool (H)

    October 17

  6. Southampton (A)

    October 26

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