Hold onto your hats, Chelsea fans, you’re about to get angry.
According to the Times, Chelsea informed Antonio Conte to stay out of negotiations to bring Everton midfielder Ross Barkley to Stamford Bridge.
The Times claim that the Blues hierarchy were unimpressed by Conte’s failure to convince Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to join the Premier League champions, and subsequently ordered him to keep quiet while they negotiated a deal to sign Barkley.
The Times believe that the fact that Barkley did not have any communication with Conte was part of the reason that he opted to reject Chelsea in favour of remaining at Everton, til January at least.
It is reported that Barkley asked to speak to Conte after a £35M fee was agreed, but his phone never rang and he decided to turn down the move.
If the Times’ report is correct, then the Chelsea board ought to hang their heads in shame. Transfers should be taken on a case by case basis. Conte’s talks with Oxlade-Chamberlain may not have proven to be productive, but if Barkley wanted to talk to him, then make it happen. Ultimately, they paid the price for their incompetence.