Mark McKenzie sounds right up for a move to Celtic

By David Walton

December 17, 2020

Reported Celtic target Mark McKenzie certainly sounds right up for a move to Parkhead.

Celtic have long been linked with a move for the Philadelphia Union centre-back. USA international McKenzie was first reported to be on Celtic’s radar in the summer (Sky Sports). The same source then said after the window that he was still being monitored by the Hoops.

With the MLS season over, all eyes have been on the defender’s next move. He’s been urged in the past not to move to Glasgow by MLS pundit Charlie Davies (MLS).

However, it doesn’t look as though McKenzie has been listening. He’s been speaking in recent hours about where he sees himself, and he certainly left the door open for Celtic to swoop for him.

As quoted by Sky Sports, McKenzie said: “Yeah (I’d be open to it), ultimately it’s about the situation being right for all parties. As the player you are probably the most important piece in the puzzle, but it’s about making sure it’s right for the club I’m at now but also the club I could potentially be going to.

“I’ve done my fair share of research (on Celtic and the Scottish Premiership) and I’ve always loved football so I’ve known about Celtic for a while. You hear about Celtic and the path of Virgil Van Dijk – going from there to the Prem.

“I’m no dummy when it comes to understanding the leagues. I have a general idea of what the leagues look like and keeping up with who is at the front of the pack in the league race and tournaments. I know about Celtic and the league – and a lot of other leagues. But it’s an exciting time, though.”

An area that Celtic need to assess

If Celtic do indeed harbour hopes of bagging McKenzie in January, these comments are golden. They are, at their core, an admission that he wants to come. He sounds like a player without an offer as things stand however.

Celtic will likely need to assess their centre-back situation next month. It’s a bit of a mess as things stand given the situation with Shane Duffy and Kris Ajer.

Duffy has been extremely poor this season but has shown signs of a renaissance. If he manages to keep playing positively, it seems doubtful we would move for the USA international.

Celtic-linked Philadelphia Union defender Mark McKenzie (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Ajer, meanwhile, has recently moved from centre-back to right-back. It remains to be seen if this is a permanent switch or a temporary fix from Neil Lennon. If he views it as the latter, that could free up space to bring another defender in.

There’s no denying the likes of Nir Bitton has been poor in his recent outings. Hatem Elhamed meanwhile could be off in January (Scottish Sun). These are all things to take into consideration when deciding whether to bolster at centre-back.

The Union star would certainly be an exciting acquisition in any case. We’re now talking about a player who led Philadelphia Union to their first ever MLS Supporters’ Shield this season. A player who came second in the MLS Defender of the Year rankings. A player who looks like breaking into the USA first-team in the near future.

And one thing’s for sure, McKenzie certainly sounds up for it.

In other news, Celtic will be on high alert as Rangers bottle it again.