Whisper it quietly, but Bayern Munich are assembling a strong cast of talented youth prospects for the future, snapping them up from Europe’s elite youth academies on the cheap and developing them into superstar players.
The best examples of this include Joshua Kimmich and Alphonso Davies, who both arrived for minimal fees, and have since established themselves as key parts of Hans-Dieter Flick’s Bundesliga-winning side. And plenty are queuing up to follow in their footsteps, with Joshua Zirkzee and Sarpreet Singh both getting a taste of first-team action recently, after joining from Feyenoord and Wellington Phoenix respectively.
Already, the club have made moves to bolster their arsenal of youngsters, luring Frenchman Tanguy Kouassi away from Paris Saint-Germain on a four-year contract. Yet they haven’t stopped there, recently announcing the capture of German youth international Nicolas Kühn – the latest promising prospect to opt for Die Roten.
The 20-year-old is arriving from Dutch giants Ajax for an undisclosed fee, and has permanently signed on until 2023, having previously completed a loan spell at Bayern Munich II during the 2019/20 campaign.
De Godenzonen are famed for their youth programme and academy, with recent graduates going on to play for Europe’s elite sides – including the likes of Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt and Justin Kluivert. It’s certainly hoped that Kühn, who trained in the first-team squad under Erik ten Hag, during his time in Amsterdam, will be able to have a similar impact for the German champions.
Announcing his arrival, the head of Bayern’s youth campus Jochen Sauer said: “He’s a technically strong, agile player who fits in well with us and helped us win the title. We expect a lot from him in the future.”
Upon signing, the player also added: “Now I’m looking forward to my future in Munich, where I want to take the next steps in my development.”
Though he’s predominantly deployed as a left-footed right-winger, Kühn is versatile enough that he can play on the opposite flank, as well as more centrally in a second striker role. Confident with the ball, he’s an excellent dribbler of the ball and uses his pace to take on his opponents at every opportunity.
The player’s talent is well known in Germany already, having earned four U20 international caps. He was also awarded the gold Fritz-Walter medal in 2019, which is awarded to the country’s best young footballer at the U19 level. With past winners including the likes of Kai Havertz (2018), Jonathan Tah (2015) and Marc-André ter Stegen (2011), there’s plenty of hope that he can become a potential superstar of the game.
“He’s a very intelligent footballer, technically very gifted, creative, dangerous in front of goal and above all, incredibly quick with the ball”.
Manuel Baum, Germany U20 coach
Having come up through the youth ranks at RB Leipzig, the winger chose to leave his home country for the Netherlands, with the Eredivisie champions paying €2m for his services in January 2018.
The German made an impressive start to life in Amsterdam, racking up three goals and two assists in his first three games for the club’s U21 side. Not long after, he helped their U19 team win the national league title for the age-group, before a loan move to Bayern’s reserve outfit followed in January 2020.
He subsequently scored twice in his 16 appearances to help them win this season’s 3.Liga title, which impressed club officials enough to earn a long-term move to the Bavarians, where the 20-year-old will now aim to force his way into their first-team.