Injured Everton playmaker and long-term Tottenham Hospur target Ross Barkley has moved to publicly clarify the circumstances surrounding his decision to dramatically reject a deadline day switch to Chelsea, rubbishing claims that he completed a medical with the defending Premier League champions before backing out of the transfer at the 11th hour.
Having rebuffed the offer of a lucrative contract extension at Goodison Park, Barkley, whose current deal expires in June 2018, was widely expected to leave his boyhood club over the summer and attracted attention from a host of top-flight heavyweights in Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal and even Manchester United.
However, injury woes and concerns over his hefty price tag rather delayed matters and saw the saga go down to the final day of the window.
Everton majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri claimed that a late £35m ($45.3m) fee and personal terms were agreed with Chelsea, only for the Toffees to later learn that Barkley had decided against a switch to Stamford Bridge after undergoing the necessary medical checks at Cobham.
The 23-year-old disputes that version of events, however, insisting that he did not take part in any medical and wanted to reassess his options in the New Year when the market opens for business once again and he has had chance to shake off a hamstring tear suffered in training that required surgery and is expected to keep him sidelined for approximately three months.
Taking to his personal Twitter account on Saturday (2 September), Barkley informed his 425,000 followers: "Contrary to a number of reports in the press, I did not undertake a medical with any club at any point.
"I simply decided that due to my injury, it would be best to make a decision on my future and assess all my options in January when fully fit. Thanks for all of the support."
Barkley, who had just returned from a groin procedure when he sustained that hamstring blow, is extremely unlikely to alter his stance on a new contract at Everton and will surely be sold for a reduced price in four months as the Merseysiders look to avoid losing him for nothing next summer.
The Evening Standard report that Tottenham will revisit a potential deal in January having initially harboured concerns over the length of his current injury lay-off, with Barkley believed to favour a move to north London. However, it is also stated that his decision to turn down Chelsea will not deter Antonio Conte from making another approach of his own.