Barkley snubs Chelsea in dramatic end to deadline day
LONDON (Reuters) – Chelsea suffered a dramatic late blow on transfer deadline day when Everton midfielder Ross Barkley rejected a move to the Premier League champions after travelling to their training ground for a medical.
On a day of frenetic spending that took the Premier League total to a record far above one billion pounds, Antonio Conte’s side also missed out on two of their other targets – Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Fernando Llorente.
England midfielder Oxlade-Chamberlain signed for Liverpool and Spaniard Llorente joined Tottenham Hotspur in deals worth 35 million pounds and 12 million pounds respectively.
But the champions still managed some business, paying Torino 23 million pounds for defender Davide Zappacosta and then pushing through a late deal for Danny Drinkwater.
Special dispensation was requested from the FA to register Leicester City’s midfielder after the official deadline, one of several deals due to come through late.
However welcome those signings will be for Chelsea, they may not compensate for the snub delivered by England midfielder Barkley who arrived at their Cobham training ground late on Thursday only to turn round and head back north.
Everton’s majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri told Sky Sports Barkley had turned up at the west London club’s Cobham training base only to undergo a dramatic change of heart as the transfer deadline clock ticked down.
“The two clubs agreed a deal of 35 million pounds, I think personal terms were agreed and after medical (sic) we heard from Paul Martin, Ross Barkley’s agent, that he had changed his mind,” said Moshiri.
He added that Barkley, who is in the final year of his contract at Everton, wanted to “reconsider his position” in the January transfer window. “It was a big surprise but this is football,” Moshiri said.
The BBC later quoted a source close to 23-year-old Barclay saying the midfielder did not have a medical and wanted to make a decision about his future when he was fully fit. He has been sidelined with a hamstring injury after a hernia operation.
Alexis Sanchez was another player staying put, although for different reasons, as Arsenal turned down a 60 million pounds bid from Manchester City after failing to secure his potential replacement, Monaco’s Thomas Lemar, despite a 92 million pounds bid reportedly being accepted by the French club.
British media speculated that the France winger would have preferred a switch to Liverpool, who were reported to have made their own bid, a possible indication that Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho could be en route from Anfield to Barcelona.
Although that deal looks unlikely, the transfer window in Spain does not close until Friday.
VAN DYKE STAYS
Liverpool failed to lure central defender Virgil van Dijk from Southampton, who refused to sell despite a high-profile transfer request which led to the Dutch international’s exclusion from first team training.
But the Merseyside club did agree a fee to sell French defender Mamadou Sakho to Crystal Palace for 24 million pounds.
West Bromwich Albion’s Jonny Evans is also staying put despite being linked with a move to Arsenal or Manchester City, who still ended up as the window’s top spenders after lavishing in excess of 200 million pounds on players.
Spurs are traditionally busy on deadline day and completed the signing of Llorente from Swansea and paid PSG 23 million pounds for Ivorian Serge Aurier.
Swansea re-signed striker Wilfried Bony from Manchester City and, in one of the day’s surprises, brought in Portugal midfielder Renato Sanches on loan from Bayern Munich.
Another Portugal Euro 2016 winner, Adrien Silva, was due to join Leicester in a late deal with the Foxes also signing Austria’s Aleksandar Dragovic from Bayer Leverkusen.
Every Premier League club brought in at least two players in the window, with Watford and promoted Huddersfield Town the busiest teams with each making 13 signings.
Brighton & Hove Albion left it late to bring in goalkeeper Tim Krul on loan from Newcastle United and defender Ezequiel Schelotto from Inter Milan.
Everton, one of the window’s most prolific spenders, lavished a further 10 million pounds on Hajduk Split’s teenage striker Nikola Vlasic.
France defender Mamadou Sakho joined Crystal Palace from Liverpool on a four-year deal, the club said on Friday.