Celtic were eyeing up a move for Philadelphia Union defender Mark McKenzie back in the summer transfer window, but no agreement came to fruition. Now though, a new update has emerged as Sky Sports report that the 21-year-old would be open to a move in January if the Hoops come knocking again.
McKenzie has admitted that he would love to follow a similar route to Virgil van Dijk, who famously built his way up to becoming one of the best central defenders on the planet.
Not only would joining Celtic help the US international’s career, but it would be a huge signing from the struggling Scottish outfit.
The Hoops have been completely derailed by their Glasgow neighbours this season as Rangers continue to dominate the Premiership. As it stands, they are leading what is now a one-horse race by a whopping 13 points and the reigning champions will likely have to settle for second place.
It will be a huge blow for Celtic to lose out to their arch rivals, but a strong January window could put them in good stead to make an immediate comeback.
They’ve struggled with a very inconsistent squad this season, with many players disappointing in their performances. One man who has not had the desired effect is Shane Duffy, who could be looking at the club terminating his loan move from Brighton early due to his lacklustre displays.
Indeed, the centre-back is on thin ice and could completely ruin his chances of a permanent move to Parkhead. But from Celtic’s point of view, they should be prioritising McKenzie over Duffy. The former was recently lauded for being a “Rolls-Royce” of a player and he could seriously improve Celtic’s backline.
According to WhoScored, the £60,000 per week Union ace has averaged more tackles (1.6) and clearances (4.6) to Duffy’s respective 0.8 and 3.4 each game this season. McKenzie has also been more eagle-eyed when it comes to creating chances, completely more successful long balls (4.5) than his counterpart’s 3.4 per 90 minutes.
Whilst his stats are already more impressive on paper, he is also seven years younger than Duffy, who finds himself out of favour at Brighton due to Ben White’s rise into the spotlight. He could be looking at an almost identical situation if Celtic commit to bringing “natural leader” McKenzie across the pond in January.
In other news, Rangers transfer blow could be big positive for Neil Lennon…