Antonio Conte has labelled stories which claimed he was prevented from speaking to Ross Barkley on transfer deadline day as “ridiculous”.

Barkley came close to joining Chelsea from Everton on the last day of the summer window after the two clubs agreed a £35m move, but pulled out at the last minute.

Everton majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri claimed that Barkley rejected the chance to join the champions despite undergoing a medical at Chelsea, although the midfielder later denied he ever had one.

Stories then emerged in the media that claimed Chelsea stopped Conte from speaking personally to the England international over fears a transfer would be scuppered following Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s decision to reject the Blues for Liverpool.

Joey Barton, meanwhile, claimed the deal collapsed after Conte turned his phone off leaving Barkley’s representatives unable to complete a move to Chelsea.

But Standard Sport understands that Conte was never prevented by the Chelsea hierarchy from contacting Barkley while he also did not switch his phone off on transfer deadline day.

When asked about the Barkley saga, Conte said on Friday: “It’s ridiculous what I read. 

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“If you’re asking this question then you read [the stories]. It’s ridiculous.”

He added: “The club tried their best [in the transfer window]. Sometiimes you can buy, sometimes you can’t. The club tried their best.”  

Source: https://www.standard.co.uk/sport/football/antonio-conte-brands-reports-chelsea-banned-him-from-speaking-to-ross-barkley-as-ridiculous-a3630531.html