Why Celtic must revive their interest in Aberdeen’s Scott McKenna
According to a report from the Daily Mail, Celtic are attempting to revive a deal for Aberdeen defender Scott McKenna in January.
Celtic wanted to sign the 22-year-old defender in summer but Aberdeen were reluctant to part ways with their star. That prompted the Hoops to land Filip Benkovic on loan from Leicester City. But with Leicester City having the option of recalling Benkovic back at the King Power Stadium in January, Celtic are right in reigniting their interest in Scott McKenna.
The Hoops backline had come under constant criticism earlier this season before Dedryck Boyata and Filip Benkovic stepped up, forging a brilliant partnership at centre-back of late. But both Boyata and Benkovic’s futures at Parkhead remains in doubt as January transfer window approaches.
Dedryck Boyata wanted to leave Celtic earlier in summer and was subject of interest from Fulham. However, Celtic refused to let him go in summer. But Boyata is out of contract at the end of this season and could leave for free next summer. He would be eligible to speak to foreign clubs in January and sign a pre-contract agreement.
But it remains to be seen whether Celtic cash him on in January or run down his contract by keeping him at Parkhead until the end of the season.
On the other hand, Benkovic could return back to Leicester City if they come calling in the New Year, which would disrupt Celtic’s backline. Even if Benkovic leaves in January, Rodgers has Jozo Simunovic, Kristoffer Ajer and Jack Hendry at the back but none of them have played well this season; so relying on them would be a big risk for Rodgers to take.
Scott McKenna, one of Scottish football’s top young talents, would be the ideal man to fix leaky Celtic’s backline. The Scotland international has put in stellar performances for Aberdeen this season, and his versatility to play at left-back or in central midfield would make him such a valuable asset for Celtic.
Strong, powerful and physically imposing defender, McKenna also excels with the ball at his feet and can initiate attacks from the back. Despite being 22, he rarely flusters in pressure situations and makes use of his intelligence to snuff out the danger.
The Scotsman is not very quick but has good recovery pace that makes him a tough player to beat in a 1v1 race. Moreover, McKenna is a really good distributor of the ball and is unafraid to play out from the back which makes him a perfect fit for Rodgers’ brand of football at the Parkhead.
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McKenna is highly-rated and has the potential to become of the best defenders in the continent in a couple of years’ time. But he needs the right manager to take his game to the next level and Rodgers could indeed be that man.