After being linked throughout the summer transfer window, it seems that one of Celtic’s defensive targets has rejected the idea that he’d avoid a move to Glasgow.
Throughout the summer transfer window, the one player who has been linked with a potential move to Celtic was American defender Mark McKenzie. The 21-year-old, who currently plays for Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union, has proven himself as one of the league’s premier defenders in recent years.
He has helped his Philadelphia Union squad improve since joining from their youth academy in 2018, finishing 6th, 3rd, and now currently sitting 2nd in their respective half of MLS. McKenzie has also been hailed as one of the US national team’s future stars internationally, but still has time to progress.
Being just 21 years of age, McKenzie would likely be a development prospect for any European club if he were to join, potentially developing into quite a player defensively if he can get consistent play-time.
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While a transfer never took place over the summer window, Celtic appear to be pursuing the young player for a potential January move. Despite these rumours, an American pundit has reportedly attempted to dissuade McKenzie from a move to Scotland for “one of Europe’s top leagues”.
Fortunately, McKenzie retorted in the perfect manner, as reported by the Daily Record:
“Ultimately it’s about the personal experience, I think, so the only way for me to understand it fully is to be over there and to compete.
“Whichever club that is, I think it’s going to be the experience of a lifetime, but I have aspirations to play at the highest level, to play Champions League football. I think that’s as simple as it is.
“Ultimately, a ball-playing league is a league that I want to be part of… [b]ut having the capabilities to know that I can play and compete against them is something I’m looking forward to and it’s something that is pushing me day in and day out.”
Quite the response for such a young player, it’s clear that McKenzie is hoping to pursue a league to develop his game, while experiencing top level European football. Fortunately for him, Celtic has quite the history when it comes to developing young stars, and participate in the Champions League year-in and year-out.