Chelsea's failed deadline day bid to sign Ross Barkley was scuppered over the Everton star's rumoured desire to move to Tottenham Hotspur instead.
The Daily Mail has reported that the wantaway Toffees midfielder opted against undergoing a medical with the reigning Premier League champions after a £35m offer had been accepted by his parent club.
Plenty of speculation and gossip has done the rounds on social media in the wake of the broken down transfer, and confusion reigns over what the exact cause behind Barkley's decision to walk away from a switch to Stamford Bridge is.
Everton are believed to have granted Barkley, who is currently sidelined with a hamstring strain, permission to travel to west London to discuss personal terms with Chelsea ahead of his proposed move.
However, reports late on Thursday suggested that he had informed Antonio Conte's men that he didn't want to join them yet as he needed more time to mull over his next career move.
Let it be said, an injured Ross Barkley trolling Chelsea in the middle of his medical is the best thing he's done during his entire career.— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) August 31, 2017
Everton's majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri spoke to Sky Sports following that revelation and confirmed that Barkley had indeed opted against a switch to the capital.
However, counter claims made on Friday, by people close to the England international, suggested that the 23-year-old had not been in London at any time on Thursday - a complete contrast to Everton's and Moshiri's stance on the matter.
Now, Everton fans on Twitter had speculated that Barkley declined to join Chelsea as a rebuttal to the Blues' decision to reject Spurs' own £25m bid for his services earlier in the week.
Everton owner Farhad Moshiri tells Sky Sports News Ross Barkley had Chelsea medical. Player's camp say he didn't have Chelsea medical today— Kaveh Solhekol (@SkyKaveh) August 31, 2017
Tottenham have been long-term admirers of Barkley and wanted to bring him to the club but, after baulking at the Toffees' reported £50m asking price, chanced their hands with an offer half the size of that.
Everton, naturally, rebuffed the offer outright - a decision that is said to have infuriated Barkley, who favours linking up with Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino over Conte - and led to him exacting some form of revenge on his boyhood club by refusing to join Chelsea on deadline day.
So Ross went for a medical while injured and got told to run his contract down and sign in Jan. Top blue though him lad.— Chuffinhambone (@Chuff84) August 31, 2017
With Barkley now in the last year of his contract at Goodison Park, the attacking midfielder will be able to either leave for a reduced fee in January and depart on a free transfer next summer.