Celtic target Mark McKenzie open to January move

David Lynch
David Lynch
  • Updated: 19 May 2021 15:43 BST
  • 3 min read
Celtic target Mark McKenzie open to January move

United States rising star Mark McKenzie has revealed that he is open to the possibility of a January move to Celtic.

The 21-year-old is attracting admiring glances from Europe after enjoying a breakout season with Philadelphia Union in Major League Soccer.

McKenzie made 22 appearances as Union clinched the Supporters’ Shield for the first time in their history before a disappointing play-off campaign was ended at the first hurdle.

The defender’s performances earned him a place in the MLS Best XI, and have led to interest from Scottish champions Celtic.

Asked about a potential mid-season move to Parkhead, he told Sky Sports: “Yeah, 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 want to be playing regular and consistent minutes – at least fighting for my spot and then trying to keep that spot. That’s the most important thing. It’s something I’ve obviously talked to my agents about and talked to the club and staff about and make sure it’s right for everyone.

“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.”

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  • McKenzie went on to underline his desire to play Champions League football and move to a club where his pathway to regular football is not blocked.

    “Ultimately Europe is where every footballer understands is the highest level,” he added.

    “I’m not bashing any leagues but when you wake up as a kid on a Saturday morning at 8am and you turn on the Prem. Right after that, there might be a Bundesliga game or El Clasico. Europe is where you want to be and I find myself in that position also.

    “It’s out there – my goal is to play in the Champions League, play against the best players in the world, win trophies. That’s my goal and those are my personal ambitions.

    “Obviously right now I’m still a Union player but I hope in the near future that I find myself in the situation where I can make the jump and put myself forward in those important matches.

    “In order to grow your game and diversify your skillset you need to be able to play and compete with the best of the best and getting regular minutes. It’s difficult to come in and play here and there. You need regular football.

    “I think you have to understand where you’re at as a footballer and think ‘what is the best option for me? Would it be to go to a top three or four league? What does the club dynamic look like?

    “Are there veterans in my position? Are there high-profile individuals in my position? Am I ready to compete in this league? Where are my weaknesses? Do I need more time to develop? Do my strengths align with this league?’

    “These are all factors I have been thinking about and I’m always discussing with my agent. I’ll probably take a couple of more days to chill out before I start really ramping up and start getting ready for 2021.

    “But it’s definitely booming and I think that’s the biggest thing for me – getting myself ready whether it’s in the winter, summer or January 2022.”