Mark McKenzie is coming off his best MLS season yet and reportedly has a new European suitor in the mix for his services.
Belgian Pro League side Genk has joined the race for the Philadelphia Union and U.S. Men’s National Team defender, VoetbalPrimeur reported Monday. Genk is currently second in the league table behind leaders Club Brugge and McKenzie’s arrival would give them a boost on the backline.
The 21-year-old defender is coming off his best season with the Union, finishing as a finalist for the MLS Defender of the Year award and helping his club win the 2020 Supporters’ Shield. McKenzie has been on the radar of Scottish Premiership side Celtic for most of 2020 as well, with several Premier League and Bundesliga clubs also reportedly in the mix for his signature.
“It’s out there — my goal is to play in the Champions League, play against the best players in the world, win trophies,” McKenzie said in an interview with Sky Sports. “That’s my goal and those are my personal ambitions. Obviously right now I’m still a Union player but I hope in the near future that I find myself in the situation where I can make the jump and put myself forward in those important matches.”
Since debuting for the Union’s first team in 2018, the New York native has totaled 51 combined league appearances for Jim Curtin’s side. He scored his first two career league goals this season while also chipping in three assists.
Internationally, McKenzie closed the year by making his first start for the USMNT in a 6-0 friendly win over El Salvador, which was also his second cap of the 2020 calendar year. He is also eligible for the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team, who will be taking part in Olympic Qualifying in 2021.
Should McKenzie make the move to Genk in the January Transfer Window, he will join Brenden Aaronson as the second Union homegrown player to move to Europe this offseason.
Genk returns to league play on January 6th at Eupen.