Celtic have recently been linked with talented American centre-back Mark McKenzie, and his manager has confirmed that the club is open to selling him and other stars.
According to ESPN’s Taylor Twellman, as quoted by the official MLS website, Neil Lennon’s Hoops are seriously interested in bringing the Philadelphia Union defender to Parkhead.
In addition, the Daily Record claims that McKenzie is available for “less than £1million”.
McKenzie signed a Homegrown deal with the Union ahead of the 2018 season, making 19 appearances in his first MLS campaign, and has been a regular starter since.
To date, the 21-year-old has made 39 competitive senior appearances for his club, as well as winning his first United States senior cap five months ago.
Although McKenzie is contracted to the club until 2022, with a club option to 2024, Union head coach Jim Curtin says interest in his side’s players is all part of the plan.
“The hype around our players is real,” Curtin is quoted by the official MLS website as saying. “It’s always flattering to have interest in your young players, it’s no secret that our model is to sell our first player to Europe.
“Keeping Brenden (Aaronson) and Mark humble and hungry is the job of our entire technical staff. The talent is certainly there, and if they continue to play the way they do, I’m sure some concrete offers will come in for them.”
McKenzie is a talented young defender who has impressed in the MLS and looks ready for a step up across the pond.
Iain Munro, who has worked with Union’s academy for over a decade and has seen the likes of Christian Pulisic prosper in Europe, rates McKenzie highly.
“Mark is a talented kid,” he is quoted by the Daily Record as saying. “Coming through at the academy, you could see then that he had great pace and athleticism. Nobody could outrun him.
“He continues to improve all the time. He’s a smart boy and a fantastic athlete. He listens well and is very coachable.
“We’ve had the likes of (Zack) Steffen and Pulisic progress through the academy and done very well for themselves. Mark can go on to play at a high level as well – he’s a Rolls-Royce of a player.”
With Celtic losing Jozo Simunovic and Jack Hendry going away on loan, the Bhoys could certainly do with bolstering their central defensive ranks, and McKenzie looks not only talented but also realistic and affordable as a signing.