Former top Celtic target Mark McKenzie has opened up about his move to Genk. The player has left the states to pursue a career in Europe and in the summer, his destination could have and most likely should’ve been Celtic.
At the time, the club could either bring McKenzie in or finance the Shane Duffy loan deal; they opted for the latter and left the defender playing for Philadelphia.
The interest was always there, but by the time January came, the defender’s price tag had more than doubled leaving Celtic out of the race.
First and foremost, McKenzie never snubbed Celtic because he was never given a choice between Genk or Celtic. The club, in the end, didn’t come up with the fee.
His words below, cited by RecordSport, is mostly the usual fluff you get from a new signing anywhere. He did admit there was interest from other parties, of course, because there was, just not to the point deals were on the table.
“There was interest elsewhere, but when I heard that Genk was interested, I was immediately enthusiastic.
“It’s a club that makes players better and then sells them to larger clubs. I looked at their history and they develop and sell players. They take them on to the next level.
“That was exciting for me.
“I have to be honest, there are still gaps in my game and at Genk they know what can be improved and where I can teach the team something.
“They have the resources and the ability to help me in my development. I’m really excited to get started soon.
“They have followed me for a long time and, in the end, the choice was easy.
“I spoke to the national team manager Gregg Berhalter and some of the coaches about the move and they were great. They gave me plenty of encouragement and advice.”
We highlighted Mark’s comments about Genk building players and sending them on their way. It’s the exact description of Celtic who currently have over £100m rated worth of sold talent playing in the English Premier League, while Moussa Dembele signs for Atletico Madrid.
We’ll never know if Mark would have come to the club if there was a choice but it’s a player Celtic should have pursued more vigorously. We have a big rebuild on our hands and having young, enthusiastic players like Mark will be more than advantageous.