Report: What Celtic want for frozen-out Lennon signing Vasilis Barkas amidst EFL talks

By Euan Davidson

January 25, 2022

Sheffield United have pulled out of talks to sign Celtic goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas, according to a report.

The Scottish Daily Mail [25/1/22, print edition p.79] state that the Blades, relegated from the Premier League last season, were interested in the Greek ‘keeper. However, the report says that Celtic wanted a loan fee, on top of covering Barkas’ “£20,000-per-week wage”.

Additionally, Celtic wanted a £2.5m option for Sheffield United, as well as a percentage of any sell-on fee. Having signed for the Hoops at a cost of £4.5m last summer [Sun], it’s clear Celtic want most of their money back.

Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Barkas, of course, failed to settle at Celtic, and suffered from a remarkably difficult debut campaign. Though capable of distributing the ball, and playing it on the deck, he seemed to lack composure in big moments. A questionable showing in the season’s first Glasgow Derby really set the scene for Barkas at Celtic.

From then, he was swapped with Scott Bain, then Conor Hazard, now at HJK Helsinki on loan. Celtic have added Joe Hart to the goalkeeping ranks at Parkhead, while former Spurs Academy talent Tobi Oluwayemi is now training with the first team.

Clearly, Barkas needs to go. Celtic, though, are remaining tough in negotiations, with a wish to recoup at least half of what was paid for him last summer.

The report also claims that an unnamed Swedish club were looking to nab Barkas. However, they’ve been similarly priced out of a move.

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Celtic need to do right by Barkas, but also command a decent fee in return; it’s a tricky bit of business

It’s quite a sad situation, all told.

Vasilis Barkas looked and sounded like a decent signing by Celtic last summer. When it became obvious Fraser Forster wasn’t rejoining, an international goalkeeper with Champions League experience sounded good. As it turned out, it wasn’t a great experience for Barkas, Celtic supporters or, indeed, Neil Lennon.

A loan-to-buy move seems the best idea for Barkas; he’ll want his next destination to be a more comfortable fit. Having the get-out of a temporary deal is a great idea for him to really get a sense of where he goes next. His wages, though, are considerable by Celtic standards.

Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

Could the Hoops be convinced to bite the bullet and pay his reported £20k a week while he plays elsewhere for a while? It doesn’t seem entirely likely.

That’s the risk you take with marquee signings, of course. Barkas was that. His expectations, demonstrated by his wages, were that he’d be a key first-team player for years to come. Obviously, that’s what Celtic expected, too. A year and a half on, those wages seem something of a millstone for the Hoops. That is, in in terms of talks to move him on.

Perhaps Sheffield United can be convinced to return to the table. Either way, we now know what it is Celtic want in return to Vasilis Barkas.

Whether it’s too much for other clubs to spend is the key thing.

Read more: EFL club boss explains why his top transfer target snubbed him for Celtic