Joey Barton: Antonio Conte to blame for Barkley snub
Former Burnley midfielder Joey Barton believes Antonio Conte played a part in Ross Barkley's decision to remain at Everton on transfer deadline day.
The England international looked on course to join the Blues last Thursday after the Toffees agreed on a £35m deal with the Premier League holders.
However, the 23-year-old had a change of mind in the 11th hour and opted to prolong his stay with the Merseyside outfit. Barkley, later on, clarified via social media that he wanted to fully recover from his hamstring problem before pursuing a fresh challenge in January.
Speaking on TalkSPORT, Barton told his side of the story which involved Blues boss Antonio Conte. As per Barton, Conte kept his phone switched off on deadline day, and this scuppered the deal with Barkley failing to receive assurances over his position at Stamford Bridge.
"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 said.
"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."
Chelsea are due to return with a fresh offer for Barkley in the New Year, but they could potentially face competition from Tottenham Hotspur, who are seemingly confident of negotiating a cut-price deal.