Arsenal have Athletic Bilbao defender Unai Nunez on their shortlist, as the player’s current club try to extend his contract.

GIJON, SPAIN – SEPTEMBER 08: Sergio Ramos (L) comes off for Unai Nunez of Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

Deia report that in their search for defensive options, Arsenal identified Unai Nunez for their shortlist. Nunez’s current contract expires in 2023, but his club are in the process of negotiating an extension. They want to add two years to his deal.

I’m always wary of transfer stories involving a battle between a move and a contract extension. If you’re an agent trying to get a better deal for your client, the first thing you’d do is leak transfer gossip to the press.

In fairness, the rumours around Nunez did start back in October, before the contract talk. At the time, the story was that Arsenal regularly sent scouts out to watch him play.

The player was generating some buzz back then due to his debut with Spain. That national debut in September remains his only cap so far.

Nunez hasn’t appeared in the Bilbao team very consistently throughout the campaign. He’s up to 18 appearances, six of which came in a very successful Copa del Rey run.

They knocked out Barcelona in the quarter-finals with a 1-0 win and made the final before football came to a halt.

Nunez has only helped his team keep two clean sheets from his 10 starts in the league. Bizarrely, one was against Barcelona, one against Real Madrid. In general, his form has been more mixed in La Liga, dropping in and out of the team with variable results.

All the same, he’s clearly drawing attention for his individual performances.