Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has criticised Ross Barkley for rejecting a move to Stamford Bridge on the basis of not having spoken to the coach to clarify what his role might be, because he has signed plenty of players in the past without personally contacting them.
Increasingly common in England, Chelsea operate in the style of the European transfer model where deals are the domain of negotiators and technical staff at director level, not coaches.
“If a player has great desire to play for a great club, he signs,” Conte is quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror as he addressed the deadline day Barkley fallout.
“Sometimes it’s important for the manager to speak to a player before he signs. Other times it’s not,” he added, before confirming he has signed others without speaking to them first.
“I don’t want to speak about my English experience. But when I was at Juventus, players signed for Juventus. Not for the manager,” Conte commented.
It had been rumoured that Barkley, who stated that he also rejected the move because of personal fitness concerns, tried to contact Conte when the transfer was in the process of being completed, only to fail to get through because the manager allegedly had his phone turned off.
Conte has little time for what he is calling a ‘ridiculous’ story.
“First of all, I want to tell you that I don’t like to speak about players of other teams because it is a lack of respect,” the Chelsea boss said.
“But what I read about this issue was ridiculous. Ridiculous. I stop. It’s ridiculous. With this adjective, I tell you my thoughts of this news.”
Reports from deadline day claiming that Barkley changed his mind about joining Chelsea halfway through a medical with the club were quickly debunked, with the player himself later also confirming that he did not begin a medical with Chelsea or any other club.