Belfast Telegraph

Sealed deals and changes of heart as window closes


By Paul Burrows

Tottenham and Liverpool wrapped up crucial deals before the transfer window closed last night - but Manchester City and Chelsea were frustrated in their attempts to strengthen.

While City missed out on both Arsenal star man Alexis Sanchez and West Brom's Northern Ireland international defender Jonny Evans, Chelsea's bid to land Ross Barkley from Everton was sensationally called off when the 23-year-old (above) changed his mind as he was undergoing his medical.

Arsenal's failure to conclude a swoop for Monaco's Thomas Lemar (below) - for whom they launched a £92m bid - negated any hopes Pep Guardiola had of luring Sanchez away from The Emirates, while Eliaquim Mangala's refusal to move to Crystal Palace meant City weren't in a position to follow through on their interest in Evans.

Another player who stayed put following lengthy speculation over his future was Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk, with Liverpool - long-linked with a swoop for the Dutchman - making just one deadline day acquisition as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain sealed a £35m switch from Arsenal.

The Gunners' north London rivals Spurs, meanwhile, welcomed ex-Paris Saint-Germain defender Serge Aurier and striker Fernando Llorente from Swansea, who were just as busy in the transfer market with Renato Sanches joining on loan from Bayern Munich in addition to Wilfried Bony returning two-and-a-half years after quitting the Welsh side for Manchester City.

The most bizarre story of the day, however, unfolded just as Chelsea were preparing to finalise Barkley's £35m move from Everton - who had earlier announced the arrival of Nikola Vlasic from Hajduk Split.

Barkley had travelled to London and undergone a medical when, with less than an hour of the window remaining, he apparently had a change of heart and opted to stay at Goodison Park.

Everton majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri revealed that the midfielder, currently out injured as well as being out of favour under Toffees boss Ronald Koeman, will now assess his options when the January window opens.

"The two clubs agreed a deal of £35m and I think personal terms were agreed," Moshiri said.

"After the medical we heard from Paul Martin, Ross Barkley's agent, that he had changed his mind and wanted to reconsider his position in the January window.

"He's currently injured, so technically he will be with us, he is under contract for another year. It's a big surprise, but that's football."

The England international's snub is the latest blow in a string of transfer window disappointments for Chelsea boss Antonio Conte (above), who has missed out on a number of summer targets.

Former Blues striker Romelu Lukaku was heavily linked with a return to Stamford Bridge but instead chose to join rivals Manchester United.

In recent days, Chelsea had an offer accepted by Arsenal for midfielder Oxlade-Chamberlain, who rejected the move in favour of Liverpool, while Conte had also been keen to recruit experienced striker Llorente from Swansea having worked with the 32-year-old at Juventus, but he chose Tottenham.

Belfast Telegraph

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