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The Scott McKenna Celtic transfer rumour

Carl Starfelt’s departure from Celtic seems inevitable with attention switching towards the likely replacement for the Swedish defender. Scott McKenna could be a candidate.

Against Ross County Brendan Rodgers started to plan ahead by playing Maik Nawrocki alongside Cameron Carter-Vickers in central defence with the former Legia Warsaw man making his competitive debut.

That partnership last 65 minutes before Starfelt replaced the Pole who had also played alongside Carter-Vickers for the first 45 minutes against Athletic Bilbao four days earlier.

Tellingly, on the bench there was no sign of Stephen Welsh or Liam Scales which suggests that Rodgers doesn’t see either player as part of his post-Starfelt defensive options.

After the 4-2 win the Celtic boss as good as admitted Starfelt was leaving the building, followed up by news that a replacement would be brought in.

Central defence was something of a problem for Rodgers during his first spell in charge of Celtic as he shuffled around trying to find an effective partnership without any real success.

With 85,000 Twitter followers Celtic Underground have a reputation for having good contacts around Celtic while retaining independence, they aren’t on message to the club.

Arriving in the summer of 2016 Rodgers inherited Erik Sviatchenko and Dedryk Boyata, in his early days he sanctioned the transfer of Jozo Simunovic to Torino but the Italians wanted a loan to buy option after the a medical. Celtic declined, Jozo returned.

Kolo Toure was summoned out of semi-retirement to get Celtic through two demanding Champions League qualifiers but the Ivorian had ran his race by the time Borusia Monchengladbach left Glasgow after a 2-0 Champions League victory.

In January 2017 Rodgers revived the career of Dedryk Boyata who appeared destined for the scrapheap under Ronny Delia, instead he was 17 months away from the World Cup Finals ahead of Jason Denayer.

Necessity forced Kris Ajer, converted from a midfielder, into the side at the start of the 2017/18 season with the Norwegian and Nir Bitton an unlikely and unconvincing partnership as Astana away was survived despite being 4-1 down with 20 minutes left to play.

The defensive issues were never ending, Marvin Compper and Jack Hendry were signed and made no impact, Sviatchenko left while Simunovic carried on, used sparingly domestically with Bitton always on call for the regular emergencies.

In the summer of 2018 things were getting volatile behind the scenes. Peter Lawwell failed to deliver John McGinn, Boyata’s agent was demanding a move but the CEO knew better and allowed a £9m asset to run down his contract with Rodgers trying to firefight.

Scott McKenna came to the fore, supporters were far from convinced but the Celtic boss seemed keen but the price tag from Aberdeen escalated from £2m to around £5m.

Admitting defeat in his bid to sign the defender, on 22 August 2018 Rodgers told The Sun:

He’s a young player that I like. However the clubs have spoken and it was made clear Scott won’t be for sale or available in this window. So that would end that.

Plan B was Filip Benkovic coming in on loan from Leicester, his profile was sadly similar to Simunovic with both men to brittle for the demands of being a defender.

At the age of 26 Leicester’s former £15m defender is officially a Udinese player, loaned to Eintracht Braunschweg last season, Trabzonspor this term. Simunovic, three years older has barely played since leaving Celtic in 2020.

In contrast McKenna has enjoyed three successful seasons with Nottingham Forest covering a Play Off victory and EPL survival, playing 19 matches last season for Steve Cooper side’s with that figure restricted due to injury with his season ending in April with a dislocated shoulder at Anfield.

McKenna has a year left on the original contract that he signed following his move from Aberdeen, at the age of 26 the next deal will be the most important of his career.

Transfer speculation regularly links managers with previous players and transfer targets. With just over three weeks left in the transfer window Celtic will need to move fast with McKenna bound to be a name under consideration.

CLICK HERE for McKenna’s Transfermarkt profile.

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