Celtic-linked Mark McKenzie's season gets better and better; called up by USA squad

By David Walton

December 1, 2020

Philadelphia Union centre-back Mark McKenzie’s season just gets better and better after he was called up to the USA national team.

Sports Illustrated journalist Kristian Dyer reported over the weekend that Celtic had seen a $3million (£2.2m) offer for McKenzie turned down in October. And since then he’s just been getting more and more impressive accolades.

The youngster helped lead Philadelphia to their first-ever MLS Supporters’ Shield – the award given to the side with the most points at the end of the Regular MLS season.

And USA manager Gregg Berhalter has seen enough of McKenzie to put him into his 22-man squad for their friendly against El Salvador in Florida. McKenzie has only been capped once by his country back in February, and Berhalter has confirmed he’s looking to evaluate the young talent in his squad.

As quoted by the official MLS website, Berhalter said: “Since returning to the field, the focus has been on continuing to build on our foundation and preparing the team for important competitions in 2021. We have utilized these opportunities to work with our core group while evaluating young talent in an effort to strengthen our overall player pool.”

Celtic should hurry to get this done

All the more reason for Celtic to get this deal done quickly then. With Philadelphia knocked out of the MLS playoffs early on in what was an anti-climatic end to their season, the Hoops should go in now that their campaign is over.

Remember, the Union have said in the past that they would only listen to offers for McKenzie when their season was over. Speaking in the Scottish Sun in the summer, Philadelphia’s sporting director Ernst Tanner said the following:

“We have had interest. There was a talk with Celtic, but I told them: We were not willing to talk before the tournament or during the tournament, but maybe then later on.”

Celtic-linked Philadelphia star Mark McKenzie (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Now that he’s been called up by the USA squad once again, his stock will be on the rise. An impressive performance against El Salvador could really increase the interest in him.

Considering our defensive woes, this isn’t the kind of deal we should be waiting on. There is nothing to stop Celtic from trying to wrap up a deal now for the player to come to Parkhead in January. Remember, McKenzie was ranked as the runner-up for the MLS Defender of the Year award, when he decides to move to Europe, we won’t be the only ones looking.

So the Hoops can do worse than come back in with another offer to see whether we can nab him in January. This is a signing that would seriously boost morale ahead of the second half of the season.

In other news, a Record journalist has provided some worrying claims about two of Celtic’s summer deals.