Ross Barkley's £35 million transfer to Chelsea collapsed because Antonio Conte had turned his phone off on deadline day, according to Joey Barton.
Everton had accepted a bid for the 23-year-old before the midfielder travelled to London to complete a medical in the late stages of the window.
A deal fell through, however, and Barton believes the reason is because of the Blues boss.
"I heard a really interesting thing about what happened with the Ross Barkley transfer. Conte turned his phone off and Barkley's representatives were trying to contact him," Barton said on TalkSport.
"He wanted to say 'look, where am I going to play', and Conte turned his phone off. That is why Barkley got cold feet and never signed.
"He thought, 'well, if the manager isn't answering the phone to me he clearly doesn’t want me', and that is why he went back to Everton."
Barkley's current Everton deal expires at the end of the 2017-18 campaign and a January exit from Goodison Park for a cheaper amount remains a possibility.
The England international had also been linked with Tottenham in the off season with reports Everton boss Ronald Koeman didn't have him in his first-team plans.