Amid what turned out to be a disappointing deadline day for more than one team, Ross Barkley’s late decision to turn down champions Chelsea provided entertainment for everyone.
The reports about what happened are mixed but the general consensus is that the Everton midfielder had a change of heart midway through his medical.
Farhad Moshiri later confirmed this, in a strange and slightly dubious interview with Jim White on Sky Sports with the deadline looming.
Barkley, though, says otherwise. As far as he’s concerned, no medical took place. His turnaround was simply a result of his injury picked up in pre-season.
While there are no certainties about what occurred, there is one certain thing, Barkley has stabbed his boyhood club in the back with his antics on deadline day.
As things stand, there appears to be no way back for Barkley at Goodison Park. He has refused a new improved contract, told Ronald Koeman he wants to leave for a new challenge and in the process managed to annoy a large proportion of the fan base to boot.
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With less than a year left on his contract, Everton would have been desperate to sell this summer instead of risking losing him on a free next year. The £35 million deal they had lined up, with either Chelsea or Tottenham, would have been ideal.
Sure, it was far below the £50 million fee they had been quoting suitors earlier in the window but it was a good fee nonetheless. Arsenal weren’t complaining about getting it for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Now, though, they will get absolutely nowhere near that when the January transfer window rolls around. There is absolutely no doubt about that.
Reports have already indicated both Chelsea and Tottenham will return in the winter window. Now, though, they can offer maybe half of what they did this summer and Everton will be forced to accept.
They cannot afford to lose Barkley on a free in the summer, even with Moshiri bankrolling purchases these days. That would just be a poor financial choice all round.
Now they will be forced to grudgingly accept half of what they would have gotten this summer, all because of Barkley having a change of heart.
Make no mistake the player will end up benefitting too. With the money they will save, there is no doubt both Chelsea and Tottenham will offer him better wages, a better signing bonus and probably even a better fee for his agent.
Everyone but Everton will win, whatever way the transfer is looked at, and that will sting the most for the Toffees.
Barkley has insisted on numerous occasions that he is a boyhood Blue, delighted to be playing for a club he has supported, and who have supported him, for all of his life.
But his actions on deadline day show that was never the case. Barkley has stabbed Everton in the back and he knows it.