“I… have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare….”
Nicolas Kuhn, who turned 24 earlier this month, signed a contract until summer 2029 yesterday and is likely to make his debut against Buckie Thistle on Sunday. There is a lot to consider regarding this one.
As an undergrad at Leipzig, Ajax paid €2m for him six years to the day before he signed for Celtic. Two years later Bayern Munich loaned him before signing a permanent contract with the player in July 2020. He then spent a year on loan in the German second tier with Ergebirge Aue before Rapid Vienna paid €500k for him 18 months ago.
The Leipzig, Ajax and Bayern youth setups are legendary, comparable with the scale of those at Chelsea and Manchester City in England. Each of these club rinse through dozens of players but you seldom see anyone who has spent time at three clubs so invested in youth. [I’m not saying they are all productive, but they certainly invest].
His first season at Rapid was wrecked by injury: in six months he made only four substitute appearances, but he finished the season as first choice on the right wing and he has remained fit and Rapid’s fulcrum ever since.
He has made less 28 topflight starts in his career, so Celtic have moved fast. In this respect, he resembles Dedryck Boyata, who arrived on loan from Manchester City, also as a 24-year-old, having just 19 topflight starts behind him.
You don’t get signed by Leipzig, Ajax and Bayern unless you have a “particular set of skills”, in the case of Nicolas, this appears to be speed, crossing and chance creation. His combination of these attributes gets scouts excited.
Rapid and not the club you remember so fondly. They are riddled with financial problems and have a squad unworthy of a green and white strip – think Hibs. The scenario with Nicolas reminds me of Patrick Roberts at Sunderland, no winger could make a silk purse from that squad. [In related news, Netflix are back for a third season of their Sunderland fly-on-the-wall documentary, the earlier series’ are a strong recommend].
We have a well-established Japanese contingent and a three-man group from Korea (one now on loan locally). Nicolas joins Maik Nawrocki as our second player born-and-bred in northwest Germany. There has been some market investment in that area, it’s a new Celtic geo-hotspot.
Welcome to Celtic, Nicolas.