Mark McKenzie named runner-up for MLS Defender of the Year; Celtic-linked star's stock rising

By David Walton

November 19, 2020

Mark McKenzie has been ranked as the runner-up in this year’s MLS Defender of the Year award after being linked with a move to Celtic in the summer.

The Philadelphia Union had been nominated as one of the top three nominees last week along with Nashville’s Walker Zimmerman and Columbus Crew captain Jonathan Mensah.

However, McKenzie just missed out on taking the award as he was announced as the official runner-up with 23.04% of the overall vote to Zimmerman’s 28.37% (MLS).

Celtic had been reported as tracking the Union star by Sky Sports over the summer. And they’ll be impressed to know that 20.75% of players in the MLS voted him as Defender of the Year – more than any of his rivals. Unfortunately, both the media and club vote had him ranked as second-best.

McKenzie is preparing to tackle the MLS playoffs which kick off tomorrow, as he hopes to win the MLS Cup for the first time in his career.

Where do Celtic’s summer targets rank?

It looks almost certain that we’ll have to increase our depth in the centre-back ranks this summer. Whether that be because Shane Duffy isn’t brought in permanently or because Kris Ajer leaves before the final year of his contract, Celtic will likely need to strengthen.

But we have plenty of options to choose from ahead of either January or indeed the summer.

As well as McKenzie, the Hoops were said to be tracking Sampdoria’s Omar Colley (Sky Sports), and Preston’s Ben Davies (The Sun). There are certainly options there for the club if they feel it necessary to strengthen.

Celtic-linked Mark McKenzie (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Colley looks the most doubtful considering Sky reported that he could cost as much as £10m. That would make it a toss-up between Davies and McKenzie, with both coming on nicely. Preston have offered the former a contract (Lancashire Post), whilst there’s no sign of McKenzie committing his long-term future to Philadelphia.

In fact, the USA international has openly discussed a move to Europe, stating that the Champions League s his ultimate goal (MLS).

So when you take everything into consideration on the centre-back picture, McKenzie looks like the most valuable addition if we’re to make a move either in January or the summer. Considering the MLS season also comes to an end in the coming weeks, the timing couldn’t be better for him.

In other news, Glasgow is set to be green and white this Christmas as Celtic promote terrific charity cause