Exclusive: Everton set sights on Spain international ahead of January

Everton have set their sights on Athletic Bilbao defender Unai Nuñez, Football Insider can reveal.

The Premier League have held a long-term interest in Nuñez, 22, and have made regular scouting trips to watch the defender in action in the last couple of seasons.

An Everton source has told Football Insider that the Spain international centre-back figures highly on their wanted list ahead of the January window.

Everton are keen to strengthen their defensive options after struggling at the back this season.

Manager Marco Silva has used Michael Keane and Yerry Mina as his regular centre-back pairing after failing in a summer bid to convert Kurt Zouma’s loan last season into a permanent deal.

Nuñez, who has been likened to former Bilbao and current Manchester City defender Aymeric Laporte, helped Spain win this summer’s Under-21s European Championships.

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He also won his first senior cap in last month’s Euro 2020 qualifying win over Faroe Islands.

Nuñez is regarded as one of the best young central defenders in Europe after bursting onto the scene with Bilbao during the 2017-18 season when he made 36 appearances.

With competition for places in the Bilbao side fierce Nunez saw his opportunities restricted last season, making just 14 first-team appearances.

He has made only three appearances so far this season.

Nuñez started the first two games of the season, including the full 90 minutes of the 1-0 win over Barcelona in August, but he has found himself mainly playing a back-up role on the bench following the return to fitness of Iñigo Martinez.

The defender’s lack of regular playing time has encouraged his suitors that they might be able to lure him from San Mames with the offer of first-team football.

In other Everton news, it can be REVEALED that the club are plotting a move to sign £40million goal machine.