Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Arsenal Still Keeping An Eye On Athletic Bilbao Starlet: Why Arteta Must Avoid Him This Summer

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

According to AS, Arsenal are still interested in the services of Unai Nunez. The Athletic Bilbao defender is facing an uncertain future at the club, having yet to agree to a new deal. The Spanish club has already submitted three offers to Nunez, and they are unlikely to come up with another one.

Arsenal are not the only club keen on Nunez, however, with the centre back also being courted by London rivals West Ham as well as Italian giants Inter Milan.

Unai Nunez’s spell at Athletic

Nunez has been a part of the Athletic Bilbao senior side since 2017. He instantly made his mark in top-flight football, having made 33 league appearances during the 2017/18 campaign. However, despite the departure of Aymeric Laporte, the Spaniard lost his place in the first-team to Inigo Alvarez last season.

It has been pretty much the same case in the ongoing campaign, with Martinez and Yeray Alvarez being considered as first-choice centre-backs for Athletic Bilbao. As a result, Nunez has featured in less than 1,000 minutes of league football.

That being said, the 23-year-old is still regarded as one of the most talented defenders in La Liga. And with the academy starlet struggling to reach an agreement with Athletic Bilbao regarding a new contract, a move away from San Mames could be on the horizon.

Arsenal are still interested in the services of Unai Nunez - A reliable option?
BILBAO, SPAIN – AUGUST 20: Gaku Shibasakiof Getafe CF competes for the ball with Unai Nunez of Athletic Club during the La Liga match between Athletic Club and Getafe at San Mames Stadium on August 20, 2017, in Bilbao. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

What can he offer to the table?

Nunez is primarily known for his ball-playing qualities. He can distribute the ball from the back and provide assurance in the build-up. At the same time, the Spaniard also boasts an imposing 1.86m frame that gives him the upper hand when it comes to physical and aerial duels.

However, what makes Nunez such a highly rated defender is his ability to read the game. He can be compared to Marc Bartra – someone who isn’t afraid to get out of his line in an attempt to cut down passing channels in midfield.

Arsenal are still interested in the services of Unai Nunez: Should The Gunners Make A Move?

Nunez is, no doubt, a talented individual, who has the talent to become a household name in European football. However, he has played very little football over the past two seasons. This lack of game-time could make it extremely difficult for him to integrate into the fast-paced nature of the Premier League.

But more importantly, there is no secret that Nunez is going to cost a fortune. West Ham were willing to fork out around €30 million, so it can be assumed that that defender is at least going to cost in the region of €30 million – €40 million.

It is extremely unlikely that Arsenal will be willing to invest that amount of money, especially at a time when they are in deep financial trouble due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Hence, Mikel Arteta must avoid a risk this summer by signing Nunez and should instead set his sights on other alternatives.

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