Barkley was heading to Chelsea but still decided not to sign for the Premier League champions, just days after Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain pulled out of his own proposed move to Chelsea at the 11th hour. With Fernando Llorente choosing to join Tottenham Hotspur, it made for a frustrating end to the window for Antonio Conte, even though they completed a £35m deal to sign Danny Drinkwater from Leicester City.
Chelsea have been tracking Barkley for weeks and hoped to sign him, along with Drinkwater and Oxlade-Chamberlain, at the end of this window. Barkley will be out of contract at the end of the season and Chelsea did what Tottenham could not, successfully negotiating a fee with Everton.
Everything was agreed for Barkley to join Chelsea but in the final hours of the window he decided against it. “The two clubs agreed a deal of £35m, personal terms were agreed and after a medical we heard from Paul Martin, Ross Barkley’s agent, that he changed his mind,” Everton owner Farhad Moshiri told Sky Sports News last night.
“He wants to reconsider his position during the January window. It is a big surprise, but that is football.” Sources close to Barkley, however, have denied that he underwent a Chelsea medical.
Barkley will now stay with Everton for the first half of this season, as he recovers from an injury, but will be back on the transfer market for a cut-price fee in January, when he has only six months left on his contract.
Drinkwater signed for Chelsea after a long delay (Getty)
After a frustrating spell for Chelsea, they had better news as they landed Drinkwater from Leicester after weeks of haggling following his transfer request last month.
Chelsea’s final bid of £35m, submitted last night, came close enough to Leicester’s £40m valuation to convince them to part with him. Drinkwater arrived at Chelsea’s Cobham training base to complete his medical at 10pm, one hour before the window closed. Leicester have replaced Drinkwater with Adrien Silva, the Portuguese midfielder they have been tracking all summer. Silva arrives from Sporting CP for a fee just short of £20million.
Drinkwater was not the only arrival at Chelsea yesterday as they completed the £25m signing of Davide Zappacosta, confirmed in the afternoon. The Italian right-back arrived from Torino, where he has played for the last two seasons. He has four caps for the Italy national team, and was given his debut for them by Conte himself during his spell in charge.
Zappacosta gives Chelsea an extra option at right wing-back, as they would have had from Oxlade-Chamberlain had he not turned them down to join Liverpool instead.