Goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas has confirmed to Dutch media he has been released from Celtic and is free to explore new opportunities this summer.

Reports from Greece surfaced over the last few days that this was on the cards but the player himself has now thanked Celtic for allowing him to leave.

When asked if he had been released, the goalkeeper told RTV Utrecht: “That’s right. My agent worked hard for that. I also want to thank Celtic for it. I can now start thinking about next season.

Dutch Eredivisie"FC Utrecht v RKC Waalwijk"
Photo by ANP via Getty Images

“I have to make choices. It feels like my family here at Utrecht, I don’t know if I will find that anywhere else. Of course I want to stay, but that is not always easy.

“I said that my agent should talk to FC Utrecht. But we now have to wait a few days, take a rest, think about it. But whatever happens, Utrecht will always remain my family.”

Barkas arrived at Celtic as a big-money signing in the summer of 2020 to replace Fraser Forster but badly struggled in a horror season for the club. There was never going to be any way back for him, especially when Joe Hart joined a year later.

He’s been a regular number-one choice for FC Utrecht this season, making 38 appearances in all competitions. By his own admission, it’s unclear where his future now lies.

The 29-year-old at least restored credibility on his loan spell and has given himself the chance of a decent move elsewhere in Europe if a permanent contract doesn’t work out for him in the Netherlands.

It’s unclear why Celtic have decided to cut ties instead of seeking some sort of transfer fee, but if he was a high earner – which is possible as an intended pillar transfer signing – it makes sense to get his wages off the books as quickly as possible and divert resources elsewhere. His contract had been due to run until the summer of 2024.

Like everyone who passes through Celtic Park, we wish him all the best with his next career move.

In other news, Sky Sports coverage of Celtic matches is about to change in a big way.

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