Mark McKenzie admits it is a ‘blessing’ to attract the interest of a club like Celtic amid speculation linking he and Philadelphia Union team-mate Brenden Aaronson with the Scottish champions, speaking to MLSSoccer.
With the AC Milan-linked Kristoffer Ajer facing an uncertain future in Glasgow, there is a very real chance that a Hoops side already targeting a new goalkeeper and a new striker will be in the market for defensive reinforcements too.
And, according to the Record, 21-year-old USA international McKenzie has emerged as a target with just 18 months left on his contract.
Philadelphia Union would apparently listen to offers of around £1 million for a ‘Rolls Royce’ of a player who’s composure on the ball, recovery speed and crunching tackles make him a perfect fit for a Celtic side chasing ‘ten in a row’.
“It’s always a blessing to draw interest from clubs in Europe,” said the Bronx-born McKenzie with Union flying in the MLS is Back tournament.
“As a kid, you dream at playing at the top clubs in the world and the Champions League.” It’s great that there’s interest, it’s exciting, but I’m here to do my job for the club.”
Interestingly, McKenzie is not the only Philadelphia-based starlet on Celtic’s radar.
MLSSoccer reported over the weekend that 19-year-old Aaronson, a slaloming, scheming attacking midfielder in the Kai Havertz mould, also has admirers at Parkhead after bursting onto the scene in 2019.
And while Union coach Jim Curtin would be forgiven for fretting about the potential departure of two star players, he is thrilled to see that progress at the Subaru Park is not going unnoticed.
“The hype around our players is real,” Curtin says.
“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 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.”