Reported Celtic target Mark McKenzie is “one of the best” in Major League Soccer, Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin has told the MLSSoccer website following his club’s 4-1 thrashing of Montreal Impact on Monday.
The Hoops bucked the trend when handing Shane Duffy a dream move to Parkhead. The Irishman is not only older than the usual Celtic signing but more of an old-school warrior centre-half than the Premiership champions are used to.
McKenzie, by contrast, feels like a return to the norm. Like a young Virgil van Dijk or Kristoffer Ajer, he’s at his best when starting attacks from the back with piercing passes and marauding runs into midfield – more Rolls-Royce than American muscle car.
The £1 million-rated McKenzie has caught the eye with his expert positioning and perfectly timed tackles but it was his contribution at the other end that helped Philadelphia Union put Montreal to the sword.
“Mark has emerged as one of the best centre-backs in this league,” Curtin said after McKenzie’s assist set up Anthony Fofana’s second-half strike.
“Mark has stepped it up and I’m really happy to watch him grow and get better each and every game. Two balls set us up against a team that was playing a pretty aggressive high line.”
Speaking to the Daily Record recently, Union sporting director Ernst Tanner confirmed Celtic were interested in the Bronx-born stopper.
It was McKenzie’s killer through ball that also paved the way for Philadelphia’s third goal in a thumping win.
Clearly he’s a man who wouldn’t struggle to adapt at a Celtic side that monopolises the ball on a weekly basis.
Celtic’s record transfer sales
£25 million (Arsenal)
£19.7 million (Lyon)
£12.5 million (Southampton)
Virgil van Dijk
£11.5 million (Southampton)
£10 million (Southampton)