Antonio Conte was told by Chelsea not to engage in discussions with Ross Barkley while the club was trying to sign him, according to The Times.
The Blues missed out on Barkley after the Everton midfielder reportedly changed his mind on a £35million move during a late medical on deadline day.
Tottenham were also interested in the England international, but it represented a bitter blow to Chelsea who had already missed out on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Liverpool.
Matt Hughes of the Times writes that Conte was ‘kept out’ of the Barkley negotiations after ‘his unsuccessful talks’ with Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Conte’s ‘failure to speak to’ Barkley was ‘the result of direct instructions’ from Chelsea, Hughes claims.
Hughes adds that Barkley’s decision to turn the Premier League champions down was ‘at least partially influenced by his failure to speak to Conte’.
Barkley ‘had asked to speak to Conte to seek clarification’ over his potential future at Chelsea, but such talks never materialised due to Chelsea’s insistence.
Hughes also says that Barkley did not reject the move during a medical, and instead ‘is believed to have changed his mind about the move en route from Liverpool to London’.