Friday, August 12, 2022

Celtic Pair Drawing Interest Over Potential Winter Exit: Why The Hoops Must Sanction The Transfers

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Pratyay Maitra
A sports enthusiast in his mid-twenties who reads, breathes, as well as dreams (mostly) about football and attempts to share his views with the fanatics by jotting it down. Prefers to learn through extensive interaction, communication and exploration. So don't be in a quandary and SHOOT.

It’s been a busy winter for Celtic as they have already announced five new signings. While they are still monitoring the market for further reinforcements, offloading the deadwood has also been a priority given the ever-growing squad size amid persistent recruitment. However, the Hoops might finally part ways with Albian Ajeti and Vasilis Barkas before the window is slammed shut within the next few days.

According to Swiss outlet Blick, Ajeti is on Basel’s radar to succeed Arthur Cabral as the outright ‘number 9’. The free-scoring Brazilian might replace Juventus-bound Dusan Vlahovic in the Fiorentina attack and the Celtic outcast, therefore, is being considered over a potential return to his boyhood club.

Why Celtic Should Accept Any Offer For The Pair

The Switzerland international completed a staggering £5m transfer from West Ham United back in August 2020. Despite his heroics on debut, Ajeti failed to deliver consistently while spearheading the Bhoys’ frontline. He featured 17 times this season following Odsonne Edouard’s egress, but a lackadaisical display (with just 3 goals across competitions) upfront cost him his place. New signings Kyogo Furuhashi, Giorgos Giakoumakis and Daizen Maeda are all ahead of him in the pecking order and the 24-year-old centre-forward has not even made it to the matchday squad in recent months.

Celtic keeper Vasilis Barkas
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND – JULY 20: Ange Postecoglou manager of Celtic with Vasilis Barkas and Dane Murray of Celtic after the during the UEFA Champions League Second Qualifying Round First Leg between Celtic and FC Midtjylland at Celtic Park on July 20, 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images). The 4th Official uses images provided by the following image agency: Getty Images (https://www.gettyimages.de/) and Imago Images (https://www.imago-images.de/).

Barkas, too, was a high-profile recruit from AEK Athens. The Bhoys paid a fee of around £5m (plus future incentives) for the 27-year-old after failing to tie down Fraser Forster on permanent terms. He was supposed to restore stability between the sticks, however, things went haywire in the aftermath of an array of disastrous performances as the Hoops ‘number 1’. He eventually lost his place to Scott Bain and Conor Hazard, whereas Ange Postecoglou decided to bolster the last line of defence by roping in Joe Hart from Tottenham Hotspur.

Barkas is currently the third-choice keeper behind Hart and Bain and has failed to make it to the matchday squad for the majority of the campaign. The Greece international was drawing interest from Sheffield United, but a move has apparently collapsed.

Having said that, the custodian might still get his career back on track as he is on the radar of a mystery Swedish club. That unnamed side are keen on securing a loan deal for the rest of the season (Greek outlet Sports Room understands) and the Celts, too, should accept the offer over retaining him for nothing for the remainder of the ongoing term. A run of games in the coming days should help him secure a permanent swoop in the summer window.

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