CELTIC have opened talks with AEK Athens over a deal believed to be in the region of £3.5million for keeper Vasilios Barkas.

The Greek international No.1 has emerged as Neil Lennon’s No.1 priority following the failure to bring fans’ favourite Fraser Forster back to the Hoops after last season’s successful season-long loan from Southampton.

According to a report in the Daily Record, the nine-in-a-row champions have made their offer, but AEK will ask for more and could kick-start an auction for their highly-rated 26-year-old netminder.

Newly-promoted Leeds and French outfit Montpellier are also understood to be monitoring the situation, but it appears the personal terms on offer from the Parkhead side are acceptable to the experienced last line of defence who faced Brendan Rodgers’ side in the Champions League qualifiers in 20118 and helped the Greeks to a shock 3-2 aggregate triumph.

Barkas has been four seasons with the Athens club and reckons it is time to move on with two years still to run on his contract.

Lennon has admitted he is assessing a number of possibilities with other options on the table.

Scott Bain played the entire 90 minutes of the friendlies against Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain in the three-game tour of France. He was beteen the stick for an hour in the 1-1 draw with Nice and was involved all the way through the defeats against Lyon (2-1) and PSG (4-0).

Connor Hazard replaced him in the first game, but has yet to play a competitive fixture for the club.

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