Celtic are reportedly close to confirming the signing of Rapid Vienna winger Nicolas Kühn.

According to FootballScotland, the 24-year-old German forward, who has three goals and seven assists in 22 appearances for the Austrian Bundesliga side this season, will arrive in Glasgow this week to complete a £3m move.

The former Ajax and Bayern Munich prospect will become Brendan Rodgers’ first January arrival with the Celtic manager regularly speaking of adding ‘quality’ to his squad during the first half of the season.

This scout report will take an in-depth look at the former German youth international, analysing his data and playing style to assess whether he will bring some of the additional ‘quality’ that Rodgers seeks.  

Player Profile

Kühn spent his early youth career with his hometown team Wunstorf and had spells in both St Pauli and Hannover’s academies before joining Leipzig’s youth set-up in 2015. Impressive performances for Leipzig’s under-17 and under-19 sides caught the eye of Ajax who shelled out around £2m for Kühn in January 2018.

Kühn joined up with the Jong Ajax squad and turned out over 40 times in the Eerste Divisie, the Netherlands’ second tier. His performances for Ajax’s second-string side convinced Bayern Munich to invest in Kühn’s potential and he made the move back to Germany in January 2020, initially on a six-month loan which turned into a three-year deal that summer.

Representing Germany at youth level from under-15 up to under-20, Kühn was named the Fritz-Walter under-19 gold medal winner just before his move to Bayern. Awarded to the best talents in German youth football, previous under-19 gold medal winners include Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Antonio Rudiger and Kai Havertz.

After his move to Bayern, he spent the 2020/21 season with their second string in the German third tier and then the following season on loan with Erzgebirge Aue in the Bundesliga 2. Erzgebirge Aue did have a purchase option as part of Kühn’s loan, but they were relegated that year and unable to activate the clause.

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This allowed Rapid Vienna to swoop for Kühn in May 2022 and he left Bayern for the 32-time Austrian champions in a deal worth just under £500k.

After three goals and one assist in his first season, Kühn has been a standout for Rapid this season. Played on the left and through the middle as a centre-forward at points during his development, the left-footed attacker has started to excel in the right-wing position in Vienna’s favoured 4-2-3-1 formation.

In terms of his physical profile, at 5’7, Kühn is around average height-wise and has a relatively slender build. He possesses real speed, something Celtic have missed in the wide areas at times this season, especially when Daizen Maeda and Liel Abada have been absent through injury.

Data Analysis

The above chart uses Wyscout per-90 data converted into percentile ranks to compare Kühn to other wingers and central attacking midfielders in the Austrian Bundesliga in the last calendar year (minimum 900 minutes played). This can start to paint a picture of Kühn’s playing style. The chart is split into three sections and includes several key metrics relevant to wingers/central attacking midfielders.

Taking his attacking section first, we can see Kühn ranks just below the 50th percentile for his non-penalty goals (0.15 per 90). With a higher rank for his xG (0.23 per 90), Kühn has slightly underperformed in front of goal in the last calendar year.  He appears to get into the right areas though with an above-average xG per shot (0.13) for an Austrian Bundesliga winger/central attacking midfielder.

He has averaged one of the highest numbers of crosses per 90 for a player in his position (2.32 per 90) in the last 365 days and he ranks in the top quarter for the accuracy of these deliveries, completing 34.78 per cent of his crosses.

Kühn’s dribbling also stands out in his attacking section. Here he ranks in the 96th percentile compared to his positional peers in terms of volume, attempting 6.69 dribbles per 90. He completes over half of them (55.88 per cent) while his progressive runs, a continuous ball control that brings a player’s team significantly closer to the opponent's goal, is unmatched for a winger/central attacking midfielder in the Austrian top-flight.

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In the possession section, we can see Kühn doesn’t seem too involved in general possession. His overall pass volume of just over 26 per 90 is not a huge proportion of Rapid’s average of almost 400 per 90 in the Austrian Bundesliga in the last year.

He ranks just below average compared to others in his position when it comes to most of these general passing metrics volume-wise while his accuracy in these metrics is also mostly in the bottom 50th percentile. When he does get on the ball he appears to be very creative, boasting higher ranks for his volume of progressive passes (4.99 per 90) and through passes (0.96 per 90) although his success in both these is around average too.

Further evidence of his creative tendencies in possession is evident with Kühn posting an unrivalled rank for key passes (1.01 per 90), a pass that immediately creates a clear goalscoring opportunity for a teammate. He also ranks in the top few for his quality of chances created, coming in at the 93rd percentile for his average xA per match (0.30 per 90).

Finally, in the defensive section, Kühn appears just above average off-the-ball for a winger/central attacking midfielder in the Austrian Bundesliga. His 5.5 defensive duels per 90 ranks in the 61st percentile with his success rate in these duels (58.72 per cent) coming in a little higher in the 67th percentile. For possession-adjusted interceptions, Kühn averages 3.17 per 90.


The below shot map from Wyscout – which shows all of Kühn’s shots in the last calendar year – gives further insight into his performance in front of goal.

Kühn’s shots predominately come off his favoured left foot and, as his data profile suggested, most of these efforts come from generally high-quality areas inside the box with only a small smattering of efforts from range or tight angles.

The graphic also highlights Kühn’s underperformance in terms of his xG though. He has hit the target more often than not inside the box in the last year (53.1 per cent) but only has a goal conversion rate of 12.5 per cent for these attempts. It also shows that many of his on-target shots have been quite central in terms of placement on goal.

His finishing is certainly something he can still improve on with Kühn sometimes guilty of lacking composure in the final action, such as in the below example from a recent league game for Rapid.

Here, the ball was cut back to Kühn in front of goal on the edge of the six-yard box with just the keeper to beat. On his weaker right, Kühn lacked conviction in his effort and the keeper spread himself to block.

There are further examples of Kühn showing great movement in and around the box to get into goal-scoring positions but just lacking that calmness to finish with several efforts, consistent with the graphic, straight at the keeper. In his defence he has, on some occasions, come up against good goalkeeping too.

His searing pace helps get Kühn to high-quality goal-scoring opportunities – he is super quick. This is a particular threat in transition moments such as in the below example.

Here, Kühn was released by his teammate in a counter-attack scenario. With plenty of space to exploit, Kühn takes a great first touch on his right and shows a clean pair of heels to burst into the left side of the box.

On this occasion, he then shows good composure in front of goal to smash the ball in at the goalkeeper’s near post.

With this level of pace and his impressive movement, Kühn will likely get plenty of chances in Scotland too. He will no doubt chip in with goals but further improvement in his compose in front of goal would make him an even greater goal threat.

Chance Creation

There is no doubt Kühn is more of a provider than a finisher. No other player in this season’s Austrian Bundesliga has generated more expected assist value (5.86) or provided more key passes (20) than the 24-year-old.

Even more impressively, all of these have come from open play with Kühn only taking one corner in the last year and no free-kicks or direct free-kicks. The chances Kühn has created have been pretty good quality too, as highlighted by the below graphic from Wyscout.

Here we can see Kühn’s expected assist value, across all competitions in the last, works out at a healthy 0.23 per shot assist.

Unsurprisingly given his impressive ranks for crossing accuracy in the percentile rank chart, a good proportion of Kühn’s chance creation comes from crosses. The below example shows he has good variation in his crossing and can deliver off his weaker right foot, too.

He also looks capable of creating on the opposite flank as well so he would likely be able to play on that side too if required. The below example shows Kühn whipping a ball towards the back post to pick out a teammate from the left flank.

His chance creation doesn’t just come from his crossing though, he is also able to create in and around the box. Kühn shows good awareness and a tendency to know when to pick the right pass in these areas. The below example showcases this.

Here, Kühn, after receiving the ball facing the goal inside the box could have taken a shot on himself. However, he was aware of a teammate in a better position to his left and laid the ball off to allow him to step on and finish high into the top left corner.

He also shows some nice inventiveness in his chance creation, such as in the below example from a cup game when, carrying the ball at high speed, he backheeled the ball into the path of a teammate to finish.


Often what gets him into positions to create, Kühn’s dribbling and ability to carry the ball over larger distances is another aspect of his game that stands out.

As seen in one of the examples from the finishing section, Kühn’s dribbling can be devastating. He is agile and has excellent close control when carrying the ball, even at speed. Able to manipulate the ball in tighter areas to escape pressure, he can also use his rapid pace to knock the ball on and maintain possession.

The above graphic from Wyscout gives further insight into the impact of Kühn’s dribbling ability, specifically in the final third. Averaging just under four successful dribbles per 90 in the last year, Kühn has kept possession 70.1 per cent of the time following a dribble. In the last year, his dribbles have led to 27 shots the creation of 3.32 xG, which has resulted in three goals.

The below shows another example of Kühn’s ability to generate positions where he can create through his dribbling ability. In this example, he took the ball under his spell with an excellent first touch before facing up the defender.

A quick change of pace then left the defender for dead and got Kühn into a position to deliver into the box.

Here he again showed his ability to pick out his man off his weaker right foot, standing the ball up for the Rapid centre-forward to have a headed effort on goal.

Role in build-up

The below graphic from Wyscout further highlights his ability to progress the ball through his carries, he is not only unmatched amongst his positional peers but also the whole Austrian Bundesliga when it comes to the amount of progressive runs he completes per 90.

It also highlights an area which might be a bit of a concern in one regard, particularly when it comes to facing the low blocks that Celtic come up against on a semi-regular basis in the Scottish Premiership.

Highlighted to some extent in his low ranks for both volume and efficiency in his passes, especially short/medium passes, this graphic shows Kühn’s lowest accuracy percentage of progressive passes is at the shortest distance (69.4 per cent accuracy at 0-20m).

Given the lack of space when faced with a low block, the ability to progress the ball through short sharp passing is paramount. With Kühn not seemly overly efficient in this area of his game, this may be one area where there is a question mark.

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Coming through some of Europe’s elite clubs, Kühn has fine technical attributes but he perhaps does not possess top-level technical ability in this regard. There are times when he rushes those shorter, build-up passes, and even accurate passes don’t always give his teammate the easiest balls to deal with. Taking greater care of the ball in longer sequences of possession would be one area of Kühn’s game he could improve on.

He can also be guilty of relying on his left too heavily. That is not to say he is not capable of playing passes with his right, as seen in his crossing he is proficient with his ‘weaker’ foot but, in build-up sequences, he perhaps relies too much on his left which can limit his passing angles.


As seen in his data analysis, Kühn benchmarked around average for his defensive duels, defensive duel win percentage and PAdj interceptions compared to other wingers/central attacking midfielders in the Austrian Bundesliga. The below graphic gives further insight into Kühn out of possession, mapping his recoveries in the final third in the last year.

Here we can see he has averaged just under two recoveries in the final third in the last year and registered 0.5 dangerous recovers per 90. Most of these recoveries have come in the central area just outside the box (Zone 14) and, predictably given his position, on the right flank. 

When pressing from the front, Kühn demonstrates good intensity when closing down opponents. However, there are occasions when he could shape his body better to cut off more passing angles for the opposition.

He tracks back well enough too, again his pace is his asset here allowing him to quickly retreat and fill spaces. In 1v1 defending situations, he doesn’t quite have the physicality or upper body strength to be massively effective though. He is probably closer to an Abada in this aspect of his game than he is to a Maeda type.

All that said, he is still prepared to do his bit for the team without the ball, which is sometimes not always the case with creative, attacking wingers of his profile.


Given his finishing not quite being there and questions about how effective he might be in build-up phases, particularly against low-blocks, Kühn may not be a completely transformative signing. However, he possesses much of the ‘quality’ Rodgers is likely looking for in a wide player. He certainly has the pace while he also has the tools to create chances through a variety of methods. He will likely be willing enough off-the-ball too.

Even taking into account injuries, Palma aside (who has not always shown the consistency required), Celtic have struggled to create enough from wing-play regularly in the first half of the season – as well summed up by Alan Morrison here.

In that regard, and ahead of the business part of the season kicking into gear, Kühn’s arrival will provide a welcome boost in a key area of the park for Rodgers.