Vasilis Barkas could be offered a return to Greece with AEK Athens reported to be interested in signing the keeper on loan.
When Celtic’s hopes of resigning Fraser Forster came to an end they turned to the Greek internationalist but he never looked like filling the gloves of The Great Yellow Wall.
Celtic won 10, lost once and drew the other match in Barkas’ first dozen matches but after the opening Glasgow Derby and Europa League defeat from AC Milan his game was severely questioned with Scott Bain taking over after Barkas was injured against the Italian giants.
Patryk Klimala, Hatem Abd Elhamed and Jeremie Frimpong have left Celtic since the turn of the year, with Tunisian interest in Vakoun Bayo it seems that word has gone out that the hoops are looking to clear the decks.
The Sun reports:
But his former club AEK want to bring him back to Athens on loan, according to reports in his homeland after they failed to properly replace him this season. They will face competition from PAOK too, but are hoping Barkas will want to return to the club he was with for four years.
They are sitting in fourth place and keeper Panagiotis Tsintotas has been heavily criticised with AEK conceding 29 goals in 26 games this season – 16 more than champions Olympiacos and then a further 13 more in just six games since their season split.
That led to him being dropped for No.2 Georgios Athanasiadis, but he conceded seven goals in two games to Olympiacos too and AEK want a replacement. Manager Manuel Jimenez, who is now on his fourth spell as AEK boss, wants to get Barkas back for next season, but will have to negotiate a loan deal with Celtic.
Barkas kept only nine clean sheets in his 20 appearances for the club in all competitions and also lost his place in the Greek national team this season for the World Cup qualifiers. He still has three years left of his bumper deal he signed when he moved to Glasgow in July.
A loan deal to AEK Athens would seem the best option for Barkas, returning to a club he is familiar with where he can restore his reputation or catch the eye of another club.
The transfer fee of £4m is likely to have been agreed over a few instalments making a loan deal between the clubs easier to arrange.