Ross Barkley rejected a move to Premier League champions Chelsea on transfer deadline day because manager Antonio Conte turned his phone off, former Manchester City star Joey Barton has claimed.
Chelsea had agreed a £35 million fee with Everton for Barkley, only for the England star to pull the plug on the deal after the Italian gaffer made himself incommunicado, if we are to believe Barton.
Barton told talkSPORT :”I heard a really interesting thing about what happened with the Ross Barkley transfer. Conte turned his phone off and Barkley’s representatives were trying to contact him.
“He wanted to say ‘look, where am I going to play’, and Conte turned his phone off. That is why Barkley got cold feet and never signed.
“He thought, ‘well, if the manager isn’t answering the phone to me he clearly doesn’t want me’, and that is why he went back to Everton.”
Barkley, 23, comes off contract with Everton on June 30, 2018, and has refused to pen a new long-term deal.