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Bayern Munich consider January move for €30m Athletic defender Nunez

13:02 BST 25/10/2019
Unai Nunez Athletic Club 2019-20
Niko Kovac is down to the bare bones when it comes to centre-backs following injuries to Niklas Sule and Lucas Hernandez in the last seven days

Bayern Munich are considering a January move for Athletic Club defender Unai Nunez amid an injury crisis at the back for the Bundesliga champions.

Niko Kovac was already facing a selection dilemma with first-choice centre-back Niklas Sule ruled out for the rest after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament against Augsburg on Saturday.

And that was further perpetuated after Lucas Hernandez underwent surgery on Thursday on an injured ankle ligament that forced him off against Olympiacos on Tuesday.

That has left Kovac with just one fit out-and-out senior centre-back in the shape of Jerome Boateng, though Javi Martinez, Benjamin Pavard and David Alaba all have some experience of playing that role previously in their careers.

Nevertheless, Bayern may still be forced into the market at the start of 2020, with Nunez a player they have been monitoring the progress of for some time.

The 22-year-old has largely impressed for the Liga outfit, though he has only made three first-team appearances so far this season.

That did not stop him from winning a first Spain cap in September as he came off the bench to replace Sergio Ramos against the Faroe Islands in La Roja's Euro 2020 qualifier.

Nunez's current contract at San Mames runs until the end of the 2022-23 season and contains a €30 million (£26m/$33.3m) release clause.

Goal and SPOX have learned that initial talks have been held between Bayern and the player's entourage, with agent Giovanni Branchini - who regularly works as a transfer mediator for Bayern - having made contact with Nunez immediately after Hernandez picked up his injury.

A final decision on whether to sign Nunez, who has previously been linked to Arsenal and Everton, will be made in the coming weeks as the Bayern hierarchy first want to assess the performance of Kovac's makeshift backline.

Kovac has again started to come under pressure at the Allianz Arena, with defeat to Hoffenheim and the draw with Augsburg either side of the international break leaving Bayern third in the Bundesliga table.

They are only a point behind leaders Borussia Monchengladbach heading into Saturday's clash with newly-promoted Union Berlin as ex-Eintracht Frankfurt boss Kovac aims to convince the club's decision-makers he is the right man for the job.

He was boosted by his side's 3-2 win over Olympiacos in midweek which leaves them with nine points from nine at the halfway point of the Champions League group stages.