Why ambitious hunt for Hannes Wolf is exactly what Celtic need in January

By Euan Davidson

December 4, 2021

Last night, German outlet BILD reported that Celtic were in the hunt for Hannes Wolf, an Austrian midfielder at Borussia Mönchengladbach.

Rejoining former manager Marco Rose, who was briefly linked with the job at Celtic [Daily Record], Wolf has only amassed 7 Bundesliga outings thus far in 21-22. Bit odd, considering his immense pedigree being just 22 years old.

Wolf was something of a prodigy at youth level. Part of an exciting Red Bull Salzburg set-up, he won honours at U16 and U18 level in Austria. That was topped off by a UEFA Youth League win in 16-17. A playmaker in the classic sense of the term, Wolf was capable of scoring and setting up goals from a young level, with excellent vision and an unerring strike on him.

Photo by Christian Verheyen/Borussia Moenchengladbach via Getty Images

It was obvious that his potential would translate to professional football. 3 league titles in Salzburg followed, along with 23 goals and 21 assists for the Austrian Champions [Transfermarkt].

So, why isn’t he getting a game? It really is hard to say. Admittedly, last season was an adjustment. At Borussia Mönchengladbach, his output stalled. In 32 league games, he scored just 3 and set up 2. He’s barely featured this season, despite having such obvious quality.

This is something that Celtic, then, absolutely need to take advantage of.

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Hannes Wolf is an ideal choice for Celtic

A proven quantity at Europa League level, Wolf was excellent for Salzburg in the 18-19 edition of the competition – something Celtic fans will remember. In 8 games, he set up 3 goals, and was a menace to defences playing as a number 10.

He managed 2.1 key passes per 90, and was fouled 1.2 times [WhoScored]. That indicates, straight away, a player who’s capable of finding players in space, and creating his own opportunities by bothering defenders into fouling him.

Left footed – something Celtic could use more of – Wolf has a few key attributes that Ange Postecoglou requires for his team. For one thing, his engine and positioning are excellent, capable of getting into striking positions with ease. That also means he’s capable of pressing from the front.

Photo by Christian Verheyen/Borussia Moenchengladbach via Getty Images

Perhaps as excitingly, he can operate as a number 10, drifting in-field from positions on the right, offering synergy with a player like Callum McGregor. In fact, he’s comfortable starting on the left or right of a front three, something which would give Ange plenty to think about.

With speed and a considerable range of shooting off either foot, Wolf is as much of a threat as the name suggests. Celtic absolutely need another attacking midfielder, someone Rogic can either play off or compete with. While Wolf can play in other positions, that’s where he’s best.

This is an exciting possibility for Celtic. The fact that we’re being linked with Wolf shows the ambition of life at Celtic under Ange Postecoglou. It’d be Borussia Mönchengladbach’s loss, and how Marco Rose can’t get the best out of him is a genuine mystery.

Cunning, quick and technically gifted, Wolf would give Celtic a real boost in January.

He’s exactly what we need.

Read more: Jesse Marsch in trouble at RB Leipzig after prominent Celtic links in early 2021