Humiliated Mainz need £6m Vassilis Barkas far more than Celtic

Neil Lennon head coach of Celtic FC celebrates the victory after the UEFA Europa League group E match between Lazio Roma and Celtic FC at Stadio Olimpico on November 7, 2019 in Rome, Italy.

Scottish Premiership champions Celtic have been tipped to sign AEK Athens goalkeeper Barkas - but Bundesliga strugglers Mainz need him more.

Sandro Schwarz, Head Coach of 1. FSV Mainz 05 looks dejected after the Bundesliga match between RB Leipzig and 1. FSV Mainz 05 at Red Bull Arena on November 02, 2019 in Leipzig, Germany.

Football certainly is a fickle game.

With 16 saves, two Man of the Match awards and even a brilliant penalty stop, Mainz’s Robin Zentner was the best goalkeeper in the Bundesliga during the month of October.

But November started with a chastening 8-0 thrashing away to a Timo Werner-inspired RB Leipzig and speculation was suddenly rife that Zentner could soon be replaced between the sticks by AEK Athens' Vassilis Barkas. It’s a cruel world.

 

Scottish Premiership champions Celtic have also been linked with a £6 million move for the Greek international shot-stopper over the last few weeks, via Sportime

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But with Mainz’s humiliating defeat in Leipzig still fresh in the minds, the Bundesliga strugglers probably need a new face in goal more than a Celtic side enjoying arguably their best form in many a year.

A man reborn

Fraser Forster has been a revelation since he returned to Parkhead on loan from Southampton with the former England international producing another heroic performance as Neil Lennon’s side won a competitive European game in Italy for the first time ever at Lazio on Thursday night.

Speaking after his staggering display in the home game against the Serie A high-flyers, in which he made a marvellous late-save to secure a 2-1 triumph, Forster admitted to the Herald that he ‘wouldn’t say no’ to joining Celtic on a permanent basis.

Fraser Forster of Celtic during the UEFA Europa League Group stage match SS Lazio v Celtic Fc at the Olimpico Stadium in Rome, Italy on November 7, 2019

Should Forster sign a long-term deal and commit his future to the Glasgow giants, just like Scott Bain did at the end of last month, Celtic’s goalkeeping department will look secure for years to come.

Barkas, according to Sportime, would only be on his way to Scotland if a permanent deal for Forster could not be agreed and, as it stands, the Dutch-born 25-year-old looks like a last resort.

No one in the Bundesliga has conceded more goals this season than a Mainz team who have lost seven of their 10 league games and signing Barkas would go some way to putting that disastrous defeat in Leipzig out of their minds.

Vassilis Barkas of AEK Athens looks on during the UEFA Champions League Qualifier between Celtic and AEK Athens at Celtic Park Stadium on August 8, 2018 in Glasgow, Scotland.

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