"We'll see"; Mark McKenzie coy on future amid Celtic link
Philadelphia Union centre-back Mark McKenzie has been keeping tight-lipped despite speculation linking him with a move to Celtic.
Sky Sports’ Anthony Joseph tweeted after the end of the summer transfer window that the Hoops were still monitoring the USA centre-back. This followed Philadelphia’s sporting director Ernst Tanner claiming they would only talk to Celtic at the end of their MLS season (Scottish Sun).
With the Union anti-climatically knocked out of the MLS playoffs last month and their season now being officially over, now would seem to be the right time to make our move for McKenzie.
However, as he prepares to make his second appearance for the USA on Thursday night in El Salvador, he’s touched on his future once again. As he discussed speculation surrounding a move to Celtic, he refused to be drawn into a commitment regarding his long-term future.
As quoted by the Philadelphia Inquirer, McKenzie said: “I can’t really focus on too much else. We’ll see in the coming weeks what everything lines up (as). But right now it’s just about coming into camp and firing.”
Centre-back problems only getting worse for Celtic
Remember when Shane Duffy appeared to be our only real problem at the back? Yup, things haven’t gotten any better at centre-back for the Hoops the closer we get to January.
It’s now gotten to the stage where you can go through each of our centre-backs one by one and point out some shocking mistakes they’ve made in recent weeks.
Nir Bitton looked incredibly lackadaisical against St Johnstone on two occasions where lapses in concentration allowed their forwards to run in behind them. Kristoffer Ajer, meanwhile, gave a penalty away to Ross County last weekend, looked dreadful in Milan, and struggled to make an impact against St Johnstone yesterday either.
Even the returning Christopher Jullien hasn’t been able to shore up the back-line. He’s been caught napping at times on the ball, whilst his distribution from the back has been inconsistent as he tries to find his range again.
Hatem Elhamed defended poorly in Milan for two goals in particular and found himself back on the bench on Sunday, whilst young Stephen Welsh hasn’t made an appearance since our 2-2 draw in Lille back in October.
If there’s an option to bag McKenzie in January then it must be looked at. We need stronger depth in the position, with uncertain futures hovering around the likes of Duffy and Ajer in particular. We’ll see what happens as we trickle into the window.