Cape Town - Ross Barkley reportedly refused to sign for Chelsea because he could not speak to Blues boss Antonio Conte on deadline day as the Italian had his phone switched off, according to Joey Barton.
Everton agreed a £35million fee for the England play-maker before Barkley decided against the move on Thursday.
Toffees majority shareholder, Farhad Moshiri, even claimed that the 23-year-old had started his medical – a claim that was later denied by Barkley, who is currently sidelined by a hamstring injury.
Barton, however, has claimed that the real reason for the move to collapse was that Barkley had wanted to speak to Conte about his future playing role before signing – but could not get in contact with the Stamford Bridge supremo.
Barton told talkSPORT: "I heard a really interesting thing about what happened with the Ross Barkley transfer. Conte turned his phone off and Barkley’s representatives were trying to contact him.
"He wanted to say: ‘Look, where am I going to play’, and Conte turned his phone off. That is why Barkley got cold feet and never signed.
"He thought: ‘Well, if the manager isn’t answering the phone to me he clearly doesn’t want me’, and that is why he went back to Everton."
Chelsea are expected to go back in for Barkley, who is out of contract next summer, in January but Tottenham are now believed to be ahead of the Blues in the race for the play-maker.