Celtic FC opinion: Hoops should push hard to sign Scott McKenna
According to the Scottish Sun, Celtic have been dealt a major blow in their pursuit of Aberdeen defender Scott McKenna, with the report claiming that the Dons have turned down a domestic record bid of £5million from the Hoops for the 22-year-old Scottish international.
The Scottish Sun claims that Celtic are prepared to break the previous domestic transfer record of £4.7million that they paid to Hibernian for Scott Brown back in 2007 but Aberdeen are holding out for at least £10million to part ways with their prized asset.
McKenna was heavily linked with a move to Aston Villa last summer but Aberdeen rebuffed a £7million bid from the Lions, while the likes of Swansea City and Hull City have also been made to sweat in the past in their pursuit of the highly-rated centre-back, with the Dons refusing to lower their asking price. (h/t Scottish Sun)
The same source claims that Celtic manager Neil Lennon has emphasized the need to bring in at least another centre-back this summer, with the Hoops currently short of options at the heart of the defence.
Regarded as one of the finest young talents in the nation, McKenna has been on Celtic’s radar for quite some time now but the Scottish domestic champions continue to be rebuffed by Aberdeen in their pursuit of the defender.
Celtic completed eight league titles in a row in the Scottish Premiership this past season, while a third successive domestic treble meant that the Hoops continued their unparalleled dominance in Scotland.
However, Lennon is likely to be aware of the need to bring in some fresh faces this summer in order to plug the gaps and tie up the loose ends and it doesn’t require a rocket scientist to figure out that Celtic are currently crying out for reinforcements at the back.
Dedryck Boyata has joined Bundesliga side Hertha Berlin upon the expiry of his contract at Parkhead, while Leicester City are unlikely to let Filip Benkovic return to Celtic for a second successive loan spell, particularly with Brendan Rodgers now in charge of the Foxes.
Croatian Jozo Simunovic showed strong signs of promise towards the end of the previous campaign, and while Norwegian starlet Kristoffer Ajer is also expected to be a viable option at the back, one cannot help but feel that Celtic need at least another top-quality centre-back to ensure adequate cover and competition at the heart of the defence.
Mikael Lustig is also capable of filling in at centre-back but Celtic’s desperation to sign a new defender looks justified at the moment given that the Swedish veteran is also out of contract at Parkhead this summer.
Meanwhile, McKenna’s stocks have continued to soar sky-high in recent seasons. A youth product of Aberdeen, the youngster spent time on loan at Alloa Athletic and Ayr United earlier in his career before establishing himself as a regular at the back for his boyhood club at the start of the 2017-18 campaign.
The towering 22-year-old centre-back has not only racked up 77 appearances for the Dons in all competitions till date but he has also nailed down a regular starting role for the Scotland senior team.
Those achievements are definitely worth a lot of plaudits, considering that he is still only 22 and hardly the finished article just yet.
To put things into perspective, Scott McKenna is a player with a mountain of potential and Celtic certainly cannot expect to bring in such top-quality youngsters from their Premiership rivals on the cheap.
Aberdeen are under no pressure to sell the 22-year-old given that he has a contract until the summer of 2023, meaning that Celtic would need to pay over the odds if they are really serious about bringing in McKenna this summer.
In all honesty, Aberdeen’s £10million valuation of the 22-year-old looks a bit outrageous on paper, and while Celtic might not really be tempted to spend that kind of money, the Hoops should certainly consider a bid better than £5million.
The Dons might still opt to play hardball, and in that case, Celtic would need to look at other targets, but the Hoops should try to push as hard as possible to get a deal for McKenna over the line.
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Celtic completing a deal for Scott McKenna would not only solve a big problem in a key area of the pitch for Lennon, but it would also be a reminder of the fact that the Hoops have the pulling power and the financial muscle to snap up any top domestic talent.