Everton in the hunt for John Stones alternative

Unai Nunez

Everton suffered a minor blip on Monday evening.

The Toffees have been fantastic since Carlo Ancelotti arrived but a Michael Keane own goal condemned them to a 1-0 defeat against Tottenham. 

Though, that shouldn't discourage a side who have been taken from the depths of the Premier League to mid-table, a position where they can only improve on next term.

Ancelotti has made the Merseysiders more difficult to beat but if they're going to challenge for European football, they need a little more steel - particularly defensively. 

It shall be incredibly interesting to see where he looks to strengthen.

Everton's backline is clearly a place where they want to get better.

Jean-Clair Todibo and John Stones have been linked in recent weeks, while it was thought the Toffees were an option for Lille centre-back Gabriel.

However, a new target has emerged for Marcel Brands and co.


According to Spanish outlet AS (via Sport Witness), Everton are hunting one of Atletic Bilbao's central defenders.

They claim that the Premier League outfit are in the race for Unai Nunez, a player also being chased by West Ham.

Arsenal have previously been interested in the 23-year-old who has a release clause of €30m (£26m).

Bilbao have been trying to pen Nunez down to a new deal but they have so far been unsuccessful in doing so. As a consequence, it's believed a number of Premier League clubs, including Monaco and Milan are interesting in acquiring his services.

The Spaniard is reportedly unwilling to sign fresh terms with Bilbao until he is guaranteed more minutes.


GIVEMESPORT'S Matt Dawson says...

Nunez has only played 16 times in the league this season but there is clear evidence of a player with enormous potential.

He has won an impressive 2.4 aerial duels per game this season while his pass success rate of 90% in the European U21 Championship's last summer is particularly eye-catching.

That might not be as high as Stones - who wins 3.1 duels and completes 94% of his passes - but it would represent a very good alternative to Ancelotti.


It's not known how much the Manchester City man would cost but given inflated prices of English players, it wouldn't come as a great surprise if Nunez was worth a lesser sum in the summer.

Thus, Brands would be a fool to ignore the value of the Spain international. Capped one time by his country, he is right on the periphery of being a top-class player. 

In the past, Nunez has admitted looking up to Inter defender Diego Godin - clearly he is looking in the right place to improve. He said: "I love the Simeone school, the way to defend and attack, the strategy. I pay a lot of attention to Godín, the pure centre of all life as my father would say."

With Mason Holgate potentially departing, signing another young defender would be extremely helpful.

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