Philadelphia reporter makes bizarre Celtic dig over Mark McKenzie

By David Walton

December 27, 2020

Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Jonathan Tannenwald has launched a rather bizarre dig at Celtic over their pursuit of Mark McKenzie.

McKenzie has consistently been linked with a move to Parkhead since last summer. The USA international fuelled the talk last week too when he talked up the idea of a move to Parkhead. The Philadephia Union star talked up the progress Virgil van Dijk make in Glasgow (Sky Sports).

Back in the summer, the Daily Record reported that McKenzie could be bought for as low a figure as £1m. And it appears that any figure around that is an insulting one across the Atlantic.

Tannenwald was supposed to be previewing Celtic’s game at Hamilton in a feature piece for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Instead, he used it to have a random pop at Hoops fans for his reported valuation.

Speaking in the Inquirer, he said: “Let’s say this as bluntly as possible: Celtic fans need to get over the idea that they’re going to get Mark McKenzie for a cheap price. And “cheap price” doesn’t just mean the absurdly low $1.25 million fee some Celtic fans thought was possible earlier this year.

“It means the full price that teams from England or Germany will offer to attract McKenzie to a higher level of soccer.

“It’s fine that McKenzie told Sky Sports this month he knows Celtic helped develop Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk into the world’s best centerback. But he can do better, and so can the Union — and that will be especially true if Celtic slips up any more this season. Hibernian is just one point back of Celtic right now, and fourth-place Aberdeen is one point back of Hibs. That raises the pressure on Celtic to win all of its games in hand.”

Nothing but sheer disrespect to what Celtic can offer

It’s not surprising to see fans of the MLS big up their own quality. Their league has been atrocious to watch over the years. Recent improvements however have seen plenty of arrogance creep in.

Of course, if Tannenwald wants to have a pop it should be those who come up with valuations. It’s not the Celtic supporters who have been sniffing a cheap deal here. All we see is the potential signing of a player who could make a big impact here and one who could progress his career at Parkhead.

Let’s be frank – not many people care about the MLS. Europe is where any top footballer wants to be. So trying to act as though he’s beyond Celtic when he’s never had even half the pressure he would at Parkhead is totally disrespectful to what we offer.

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

We don’t offer the highest quality football in Scotland, but we breed winners. You don’t just need to ask Van Dijk either. Ask Victor Wanyama. Ask Fraser Forster. Perhaps even Moussa Dembele or Odsonne Edouard – the latter of which will leave for something bigger one day.

If McKenzie is good enough, we’ll provide that platform. He’ll also likely get a lot more opportunities here than he would at a top five league in Europe. Tannenwald appears to think he’s worth millions and millions. But that will only prove to be the case if someone actually bids that for him. As of yet, there’s no offer on the table.

This just comes across as someone who doesn’t know the full extent of what Celtic does do players. They just see Scottish football and think “nah”. That’s the battle we’re up against sometimes. But for those who are able to see through that side of things, the potential rewards in Glasgow are enormous.

In other news, an international boss was stunned by Celtic’s “marvellous” Scottish Cup success.