Swift Vasilis Barkas exit should fool nobody; Celtic deadwood issue isn't a quick fix
You could understand the excitement that surrounded the exit of Vasilis Barkas earlier this month after he joined Utrecht on loan.
It was a big sign to the support that we were looking to shift on the deadwood. And even if it isn’t a permanent move, it gets him largely off the wage-bill for the 2022/23 season.
The speed in which Celtic managed to get him out the door was promising. The window in the UK hadn’t even opened yet. But it was never going to be a quick fix when it came to getting the deadwood removed entirely from Parkhead.
We still have several players Ange Postecoglou would undoubtedly love to see head out the exit door. Those include the likes of Albian Ajeti, Ismaila Soro, and Boli Bolingoli to name a few. If Celtic managed to shift those 3 on this summer, that would make for a hugely successful window in terms of departures.
But it has to be remembered just how low all 3 of their respective stocks are. That an Eridivisie club was willing to come and take Barkas so soon isn’t a sign of the market. It was more a sign of their desperation to sign a shot-stopper on the cheap.
They’ll look at the Greek goalkeeper and believe they can spark some sort of revival due to his record in Greece beforehand. But that won’t be the case for clubs looking at the rest of the Celtic deadwood.
Celtic won’t get rid of deadwood easily this summer – patience essential
Not all of those on the outskirts of the squad have the kind of recent history Barkas does. You can chop his form down to one poor season. But Ajeti hasn’t managed to have a successful campaign since his 20-goal year with Basel in 2018/19. As for Bolingoli, he’s been poor ever since he arrived in Glasgow back in the summer of 2019.
Soro, meanwhile, has never managed to impress at a high enough level for a big demand of clubs interested. His stock is perhaps lower than any of the players mentioned above given this is his first big club and he’s struggling to make an impact.
Getting a buyer for these players simply isn’t going to be as easy as it may have been for Barkas. If Utrecht hadn’t come in for the Greek goalkeeper, it’s not as if there would’ve been a queue waiting to take him either. We got fortunate with that one.
That’s not to say these players aren’t sellable. After all, clubs are always looking for bargains in the summer window and teams will get more and more desperate as the window rolls on. That’s why so many deals are completed in the closing days.
Hopefully, we aren’t waiting until the end of August to get rid of the rest of the deadwood. But we have to accept that’s a real possibility given their current situations. Not to mention we also need them to actually want to give up their lucrative contracts too.
We’ll see what happens over the next few months, but it was never going to be a case of moving them all on within the opening weeks of the window. That has to be remembered as we power on through the summer.