Report: AEK Athens make approach for Celtic goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas

By Euan Davidson

April 3, 2021

Celtic goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas has been subject of an approach from his former club.

Sportime, a Greek outlet, suggests that the Athens side have “made contact” for Barkas. Despite numbers that jump out, including 6 clean sheets in 13 matches, the stopper just hasn’t impressed [Transfermarkt]. Whether it’s lack of confidence or an ever-shifting defence, the 26-year-old, with 13 caps, hasn’t convinced.

Although the club spent £4.5m on the stopper last summer [BBC], they could be prepared to take a loss. Scott Bain and Conor Hazard have deputised, with Bain the current no.1. Celtic have reportedly turned down a loan deal, but could be ready to do business on a permanent move.

Sportime’s report said:

…According to information from  Sportime, AEK made contact for Vasilis Barkas. That is, to return for a year on loan from Celtic.

Initially Barkas is not… preparing to return to Greece and wants to stay either in Celtic or abroad. So this is something that makes AEK’s plan very difficult.”

It seems Celtic want to get rid of the Greek stopper permanently, if at all. AEK could yet make a permanent move. Barkas made 111 appearances for the storied club before joining the Bhoys, amassing an eye-watering 61 clean sheets [Transfermarkt]. The Dutch-born Greek international’s record really stood out, and in hindsight it’s little wonder as to why the Hoops made their move.

Unfortunately, though, it hasn’t worked out. It’s not that he’s been downright awful, more unconvincing. Clearly, it’s taken him time to adapt to life in Scotland. During a global pandemic, that was never going to be an easy task. In his first Glasgow Derby, his nerves showed as Celtic lost 2-0 [BBC].

Celtic goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Should AEK come in with a better bid, Celtic should cut losses on Vasilis Barkas

Shame as it is, Celtic should probably look to do business here.

Undoubtedly, the Bhoys will be looking for a new keeper in the summer. David Marshall has been strongly linked, while Swedish stopper Tim Rönning could be a longer-term investment from Elfsborg.

For what it’s worth, Barkas reportedly isn’t sold on leaving Celtic. Not just yet. He has the history behind him that proves he’s a worthwhile squad member, and he’s still only 26. If he’s determined not to let this season’s disappointments define him, then he could decline any offer. Whether that’s from the club that made him a star, or someone else.

A loan deal might actually have been a good idea. A year spent away from the club to regain some much-needed confidence could have been exactly what Barkas needs.

With a big summer rebuild on the way, Barkas might be a casualty. Or, with a new defence in front of him, we might not have seen the last of the Greek stopper in a Celtic shirt just yet.

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