Wolves signing this 23-year-old La Liga star would be a fantastic long-term addition at the back


Why Wolves reigniting interest in Unai Nunez would bolster their defence

Back in August during the summer transfer window, a report from The Times (Subscription Required) claimed that Wolves had been weighing up a move for Athletic Bilbao defender Unai Nunez.

However, Nunez ended up staying put at the Basque outfit after Nuno Espirito Santo’s side failed to agree on a deal for the centre-back. Wolves eventually ended up signing Fernando Marcal from Lyon to bolster their backline heading into the 2020-21 campaign.


A youth exponent of Athletic Bilbao, Unai Nunez burst on to the scene in the La Liga during the 2017-18 season. The centre-back started 33 league fixtures over the course of an impressive debut campaign in Spain, earning plenty of plaudits for his rapid development. 

Unai Nunez (L) (Getty Images)
Unai Nunez (L) in action against Real Madrid (Getty Images)

However, Nunez’s career at Bilbao hasn’t really taken off, with the defender finding himself restricted to a bit-part role over the past couple of years. The 23-year-old started just 11 and 16 games respectively in the La Liga during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons. Things haven’t really changed for the Spaniard this term, either.

He has started just 8 out of Bilbao’s 18 league fixtures so far, struggling to establish himself as regular fixture due to stiff competition for places at the back. The one-cap Spain international has tallied just 88 appearances in all competitions for the Basque club over three-and-a-half seasons. 

More quality at the back?

Wolves have endured a rather lacklustre start to the Premier League this term after securing impressive 7th-place finishes in each of their last two seasons in the top-flight. Nuno Santo’s side currently find themselves languishing 14th in the standings with just 21 points accumulated from 19 games so far, leaving them 10 points adrift of the top-six. 

Unai Nunez (L) in action against Barcelona (Getty Images)
Unai Nunez (L) in action against Barcelona (Getty Images)

Wolves’ success in their last two seasons was largely built on a solid foundation at the back. However, the Black Country club have leaked goals at an alarming rate this term, conceding 29 in 19 games. That represents a massive downgrade in numbers for a side that conceded just 40 goals throughout the previous campaign in the PL.

While seeking additional firepower up top should be high on Wolves’ agenda following the injury to Raul Jimenez, Nuno Santo also needs to weigh up some defensive upgrades in the January market.

Marcal’s move to Molineux clearly hasn’t really worked out. The 31-year-old has clearly struggled to make the step up to the PL and is expected to be out for a prolonged period after suffering an injury against Tottenham last month.

With Romain Saiss also out of contract next summer and Ryan Bennett no longer in the manager’s plans, Wolves should consider reigniting their interest in Unai Nunez.

Report: Bayern Munich remain in the race for Unai Nunez
Nunez had been linked with a move to Wolves in the summer (Getty Images)

The Spaniard has proven his worth as a quality young centre-back in Spain despite his lack of game time at Bilbao. With his best years still very much ahead of him at 23, Wolves should look at him as a long-term prospect.


Wolves need to shore things up at the back if they are to climb up the table during a hectic second half of the season. Unai Nunez fits the mould of a promising young centre-back with plenty of room for improvement moving forward.

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The Spanish international could come at a hefty premium, considering that he has a contract at Bilbao until 2025. However, he would be well worth a significant outlay for Wolves in the winter market.