Celtic weigh up move for ex-Dundee United goalkeeper as Parkhead misfit Vasilis Barkas joins FC Utrecht on loan

Barkas has endured a torrid time in Scotland since completing a £5million transfer from AEK Athens in 2020.

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Former Dundee United goalkeeper Benjamin Siegrist has emerged as a candidate to replace outgoing Greek flop Vasilis Barkas at Celtic.

Barkas, who signed for the Hoops in a £5million transfer from AEK Athens two years ago, failed to live up to expectations during the Covid era after making a series of high-profile blunders.

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The 28-year-old still has two years remaining on his Parkhead contract and will spend the next 12 months looking to rebuild his reputation in the Eredivisie after joining Dutch club FC Utrecht on a season-long loan deal.

Goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas still remains out of the first-team picture at Celtic.

Utrecht Technical director Jordy Zuidam said: “Due to the ongoing injury of Fabian de Keijxer and the departure of Eric Oelschlagel, we aimed to strengthen our goalkeepers’ guild.

“We are very pleased that his has been achieved with Vasilis Barkas. He is a big and athletic goalkeeper.

“He has good reflexes, rules in the air in the box, stands his ground in one-on-one duels and has charisma.

“Vasilis is also an experienced keeper, who has played under the bar at top clubs in Greece and Scotland and has played the necessary international matches with Greece. He gives our team an absolute boost.”

GlasgowWorld understands there is no obligation to buy clause inserted into the loan deal, with reports in his homeland stating Utrecht will cover two-thirds of Barkas’ wages.

Commenting on his move, Barkas said: “My mother is from here, so I’m really happy that I came back.

“The last time I was here to visit Holland was 18 years ago, so it’s been a long time. I can’t wait to meet some people here and to see the Dutch philosophy, the food. I’m really excited.

“It’s really amazing. It’s a great honour for me to be at a great club with nice, crazy fans that I know and in a really good league. I can’t wait to start training with my new team mates.

“I want to get myself to work and help the team try to go as far as we can, to get European football again, back where we have to be. And, of course, to play nice football.

“I’m not the type of goalkeeper who will stay on my line, I like to play football and play outside.”

Barkas’ departure leaves Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou with former England No.1 Joe Hart and Scott Bain to call upon.

Celtic goalkeeper Joe Hart at full-time after the 1-1 draw with Rangers at Celtic Park. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

However, the Australian will be keen to add more experience before his side begin their Champions League campaign and free agent Siegrist reportedly featured high on a shortlist of alternatives.

The 30-year-old Swiss shot-stopper spent four seasons at Dundee United and made almost 150 appearances before opting to leave Tannadice at the end of the season.

Siegrist was previously linked with a move to Rangers earlier this year as a potential replacement for veteran Allan McGregor but a move failed to materialise.