CELTIC’S £4.5million misfit Vasilis Barkas is at the centre of a new mystery.

The most expensive keeper in the Hoops’ history, bought for a record fee by Neil Lennon from AEK Athens in August 2020, joined Dutch club FC Utrecht on a season-long loan in June.

Barkas, who made only two appearances for Ange Postecoglou, is under contract at Parkhead until May 31 2024 after reportedly agreeing a whopping £28,000-per-week deal.

SINKING FEELING…Vasilis Barkas concedes a goal during his first disastrous season at Celtic.

The 28-year-old Netherlands-born Greek international, who has picked up 13 caps for his adopted country, has shown up well with the Eredivisie outfit since his arrival.

However, there is NO chance he has future at Parkhead with Postecoglou satisfied with his trio of netminders, Joe Hart, Benji Siegrist and Scott Bain.

Utrecht’s goalkeeping coach Haral Watenaar, in a media report a couple of days ago, revealed Barkas would be outwith the Dutch side’s price range if they considered signing him on a permanent basis.

He said: “Vasilis Barkas is too expensive for us. That is clear to everyone.

“He cost Celtic around 8million Euros with add-ons. When I saw he was available in the summer and looked at his data, I couldn’t believe we would have a chance of signing him.”

The Hoops hierarchy will be delighted with that news Barkas has been performing well as they attempt to claw back some of the unprecedented original outlay for the shotstopper who failed to convince in Glasgow.

THE FINAL APPEARANCE…Vasilis Barkas is beaten by an effort from St Johnstone’s Chris Kane in Celtic’s 3-1 win in Perth on Boxing Day last year. It was the Greek keeper’s second – and last – outing under Ange Postecoglou.

A loan-to-buy agreement in such a situation is not mandatory, but is it is highly unusual not to be included in the temporary terms.

There were optional buy-outs inserted in the contracts agreed when Filipe Jota, rated at £6.5million by Benfica, and Cameron Carter-Vickers, valued at £6million by Spurs, arrived at Parkhead on loan deals last summer.

The club knew exactly what they would have to pay for the talented twosome and that proved to be the case in August when the Portuguese winger and the World Cup-bound US international centre-back agreed permanent switches to the champions.

So, that pitches Barkas into a new puzzler. Is there a loan-to-buy agreement? And if so, the Dutch club would have known the asking fee five months ago and why is it now they are discovering he will cost too much?

Barkas, a baffling purchase in the first place, continues to bewilder even when he isn’t playing for Celtic.

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