VASILIS BARKAS, the most expensive keeper in Celtic history, has finally exited the club.
The 28-year-old netminder, who cost Neil Lennon a record £4.5million from AEK Athens in the summer of 2020, has agreed a season-long loan deal at Dutch outfit FC Utrecht.
And Barkas, who made only two first-team appearances at the Hoops for Ange Postecoglou, admits he is thrilled to be returning home.
The costly former Greek international misfit dropped to third in the pecking order at Parkhead behind Joe Hart and Scott Bain and it was clear he had no future in Glasgow, despite having two years to run on a reported £28,000-per-week contract.
Barkas was born in the Dutch town of Zetten and said: “My mother is from here, so I’m really happy that I came back.
BLUNDER BHOY….Vasilis Barkas allows FC Midtjyllland to equalise in the Champions League first leg qualifier in July last year – Ange Postecoglou’s first competitive apperance as Celtic manager.
“The last time I was here to visit Holland was 18 years ago, so it’s been a long time. So, I can’t wait to meet some people here and to see the Dutch philosophy, the food. I’m really excited.”
Reports in Greece state the Eredivisie club have agreed to pay around two-thirds of the player’s wages on an initial temporary transfer.
It has also been suggested there is no loan-to-buy option in the switch, but that could be upgraded if the shotstopper shows up well at his new outfit.
Barkas, speaking in a report in the Daily Record, added: “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.
“So, I feel excited and I can’t wait to start training with my new team.
“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 like to play football, I like to play outside. I’m not the type of goalkeeper who will stay on my line. So, yes, I would like to play outside.”
Barkas is the second keeper to be loaned out by Postecoglou after 24-year-old Conor Hazard agreed a deal with Finnish giants HJK Helsinki at the turn of the year.