Reported Celtic target Mark McKenzie has been asked when he’ll leave for Europe, but the USA centre-back wasn’t clear on his timeline.
Celtic have been the club most consistently linked with a move for the Philadelphia Union star. Over the summer, Sky Sports reported that the Hoops were tracking McKenzie. Sky journalist Anthony Joseph then tweeted that was still the case even after the transfer window closed.
Meanwhile, the USA international has been plying his trade in the MLS and playing on a weekly basis with the Union. And in a storming breakthrough campaign, McKenzie has already managed to win the Supporters’ Shield – the gong given to the side with the most points over the course of the regular MLS season.
But as he gets ready for the playoffs which kick-off later this month, McKenzie has been asked about his future goals. Speaking on Philadelphia-based podcast Unexpected Goals, the big centre-back said the following:
“Look there’s all kinds of speculation and rumours out there, but I’ll give you this generic answer – right now I’m focused on helping the Union in any way I can. I want to help the team get to the MLS Cup and raise it. That’s kind of got my attention at this time.
“Ultimately my dream is to play in Europe at the highest level. I’ve seen the speculation, rumours, the interest and whatnot. But I’ll cross that bridge once we lift some trophies. I’m not gonna get too far ahead.
“I’m just focused on right now and enjoying this present time. When the time arises and I’m ready to take that leap – you’ll all be the first to know.”
McKenzie will have achieved all he can in the States if he wins the MLS Cup
It’s no surprise to hear McKenzie try to be a bit secretive about his true ambitions for the future. He won’t want to overshadow what’s the most important part of the season in America. Not at a time when his Philadelphia teammates will be preparing themselves for the crucial MLS Cup playoffs.
However, it’s interesting to hear him mention that he’ll “cross that bridge when we lift some trophies”. That strongly suggests a potential move for him at the end of the season with an eye on winning the MLS Cup. Considering they already have the Shield wrapped up, Philadelphia will be one of the red-hot favourites to win the main competition this season.
Should they fail to win it, don’t expect McKenzie to stick around in a bid to do it next year. He has his eyes fixated on Europe, as he’s suggested several times in the past (MLSSoccer). And if they do win it? Well, he says once he’s won some trophies he’ll be ready to move on – so he’ll know he’ll have achieved all he can there.
What’s promising from a Celtic perspective is that the centre-back hasn’t been linked with many moves elsewhere in recent times. There will almost certainly be interest when he indicates the time is right to depart, but he won’t be waltzing to a top European club straight from the MLS.
This is why Celtic could be such an attractive proposition. He’ll know we’re having some defensive problems, and that could be something that tempts him given he has all the attributes in a centre-back that Hoops fans love.
And if he’s seen all the speculation – he’ll know Celtic are keeping their eyes on him. Better yet – he’s not once ruled out a move to Parkhead either.