The furore over Ross Barkley backing out of a proposed move to Chelsea at the last minute on Deadline Day has continued to rage on.
We had previously anticipated that until the Everton player spoke about what really happened there would be all kinds of rumours still flying about, but despite Barkley releasing a series of tweets explaining his position, the hubbub has not died down.
Per his statement, he did not undergo a medical at Cobham for the London side, and he had decided to regain full fitness first before making any transfer decisions. This sounds logical considering he had recently torn a hamstring and underwent surgery, with the rehabilitation expected to keep him out until December.
However, the Times reported yesterday made it sound like Chelsea’s leadership chose to keep manager Antonio Conte away from any transfer talks with potential targets. This was a direct result of Conte speaking to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and the player suddenly rejecting a Stamford Bridge move in favour of Liverpool.
This strategy appears to have fallen flat on its face as reported by talkSport today. Former player Joey Barton claimed on a radio show that Barkley backed out of the transfer negotiations when he was unable to talk directly to Conte, who apparently had his phone off.
Chelsea’s Technical Director Michael Emenalo, who performs a similar role to the Director of Football Steve Walsh at Everton, has endured a torrid relationship with Conte since the Italian took on the job. The manager had shown himself at Juventus, Bari and Atalanta previously to be a bit of a control freak regarding squad choices, and apparently has not taken well to being second-guessed or his opinions undermined.
In the end, if Barkley chose not to move to a club that seemed to marginalize who he could speak with and not even get a clear picture of where he would play, then his decision is understandable.
However, if Barkley chose to postpone leaving Everton purely for the purpose of running down his contract and reduce the transfer fee to be paid for him, then his choice to abandon the Chelsea transfer would be shameful as he attempts to swindle the very club that brought him up to where he is now, a club that he has time and again claimed he loves.