Sky Sports claim that Everton midfielder Ross Barkley has sensationally changed his mind about a move to Chelsea halfway through his medical at Cobham.
It comes as a huge surprise. Barkley has been seeking a move away from Everton all summer. With his contract set to expire next summer, he has been angling for a move throughout the off season and since the campaign started only a few weeks ago.
Strongly linked with Tottenham by the likes of the London Evening Standard, it seems that he may have changed his mind in order to keep his options open. With Barkley available on a free in the summer and likely to be on the market at a knock down price once again in January, he may hoping to hold out for a move to Tottenham mid-season.
One thing is clear though, and that is that Barkley has burnt his bridges at Everton. Boss Ronald Koeman has said that Barkley will not play for the club again, and with a hamstring injury set to keep him out until December, it would be hugely surprising if he is seen in a Toffees shirt again.
The concern for the England hopeful now may be that he has also burnt his bridges at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea were clearly keen on Barkley, but they may be reluctant to go back in for a player who so brutally rejected them.
At Chelsea, it seems unlikely that he would have had regular first team football. With the likes of N’Golo Kante, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Cesc Fabregas and potentially Danny Drinkwater for competition, and with the Everton man used to a more advanced role, it’s hard to see how Barkley would have fit in.
Not known for his work rate or willingness to contribute defensively, the opportunity to work with Antonio Conte is unlikely to have been a particularly convincing factor in his decision.
However, Chelsea would have offered Barkley the opportunity to compete at the highest level in the Champions League and compete for titles. At Everton, and possibly even at Tottenham, that is unlikely to be the case.
It was a brave and courageous call from the 23-year-old, in bizarre circumstances, but under consideration, it may just be understandable. With his options now open, expect a fit again Barkley to be on the move in January.