Everton midfielder Ross Barkley pulled out of a move to Chelsea at the last minute despite undergoing a medical with the Premier League champions. The England international was seemingly on the brink of a switch to Stamford Bridge after a fee and personal terms were finalised, but withdrew at the 11th hour after reconsidering his future.
Barkley reportedly travelled to the Blues' training ground in Cobham after both clubs agreed a £35m fee for the 24-year-old, who has also been linked with moves to Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur. Wages and the length of the deal had also been signed off, leaving just the medical to complete for the deal to be confirmed.
But directly following the physical assessment - which came while Barkley continues to recover from surgery on a torn hamstring which will keep him out for much of the first half of the campaign - the player U-turned on his move to Chelsea. He will now stay with the Toffees and assess his future in the January transfer window, when he could yet move to the west Londoners.
"The two clubs agreed a deal of £35m," Everton owner Farhad Moshiri told Sky Sports. "Personal terms were agreed and after the medical we heard from Paul Martin, Ross Barkley's agent, that he changed his mind. He wanted to reconsider his position during the January window. That is the latest we have been advised. He is currently injured so technically he will be with us because he is under contract for another year. It is big surprise but that is football."
Contrasting reports suggest Barkley did not undergo a medical. But nevertheless it is likely that the player's decision relates to his current fitness which sees him sidelined until at least November, which follows a pre-season in which he did not play for parent club Everton and underwent a separate procedure to correct a groin problem. Chelsea could yet complete a deal for Barkley come the winter window but their operations this summer leave much to be desired.
The former Leeds United loanee is out of contract at the end of the season and had been told by manager Ronald Koeman he could leave Goodison Park this summer. Everton had been holding out for a fee of around £50m but caved in the final hours of the window, only for the deal to collapse at the last minute.
Failure to sign Barkley represents the latest near-miss by Chelsea this summer. Moves for Romelu Lukaku and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fell through after the pair opted to join Manchester United and Liverpool respectively, while a move for Riyad Mahrez on deadline day has also failed to come to fruition. Fernando Llorente also turned down the west Londoners to move to rivals Tottenham.