CELTIC have been warned they will not get long-term target Mark McKenzie on the cheap.

The Philadelphia Union central defender has been linked with a move to the nine-in-a-row champions since CQN reported the breaking story in the summer.

Twenty-one-year-old McKenzie, who has just won his first full American international cap, has admitted his interest in joining up at Parkhead, but Jonathan Tannenwald, an American sports journalist, insists the Hoops will not get the player on a bargain fee.

The US newsman, as reported in the Sunday Mail, said: “Let’s say this as bluntly as possible: Celtic fans need to get over the idea that they’re going to get Mark McKenzie for a cheap price. And ‘cheap price’ doesn’t just mean the absurdly low $1.25 million fee some Celtic fans thought was possible earlier this year.

“It means the full price that teams from England or Germany will offer to attract McKenzie to a higher level of soccer.

“It’s fine that McKenzie told Sky Sports this month he knows Celtic helped develop Liverpool ’s Virgil van Dijk into the world’s best centre-back. But he can do better, and so can the Union — and that will be especially true if Celtic slips up any more this season.”

Neil Lennon’s scouts will continue to monitor the back-four operator as the manager looks to strengthen his squad.

Christopher Jullien was forced to sit out the 3-0 win over Hamilton Accies yesterday with a slight knee problem and the versatile Nir Bitton, who is better suited to a defensive midfield role, was utilised again as a centre-back alongside Kristoffer Ajer.


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