Reported Celtic target Mark McKenzie has admitted that playing in Europe is his ‘dream’, after catching the eye of the Scottish Premiership champions with his performances in Major League Soccer, while speaking to Goal.
This highly-rated USA international faced the toughest test of his young career on Monday.
But, while Gonzalo Higuain has made some of the finest defenders in the world look silly while banging in the goals for Real Madrid, Juventus, Napoli and Chelsea, the veteran Argentine didn’t get an inch out of McKenzie.
Another stellar performance from this ‘Rolls Royce’ of a centre-back is making his £1 million price-tag look like one hell of a bargain, with Celtic watching his development closely from the other side of the pond (Record).
And, speaking after the game, McKenzie has admitted that his ambitions lie in following in the footsteps of Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Gio Reyna and co.
“The dream, of course, is to play in Europe,” McKenzie admits. “That is the ultimate goal. But I’m here at Union at the moment and I’m focused on helping the club in any way I can.
“But if there is an opportunity, I’m ready and I’m prepared to take the next step. I’m confident that I can take such an opportunity with both hands. However, I’m focusing on my game right now and help win a title this year.
“Seeing that there is a path to Europe from MLS is great, and opportunities will come if you work hard. It is on you to work hard and grab them when they come. Of course, you need to handle the pressure that comes with it.”
McKenzie, a forward-thinking centre-half who counts Real Madrid legend Sergio Ramos as his idol, has made a concerted effort to improve his passing range, admitting that starting attacks from the back is ‘crucial’ in this day and age.
That should bode well for a Celtic side who tend to monopolise possession 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)