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Pochettino declined option to match Chelsea bid for Ross Barkley

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Smart business or sour grapes?

Arsenal v Everton - Premier League Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

Ross Barkley is now officially a Chelsea player after the club announced his signing in a £15m deal. News broke last night that Chelsea were on the verge of signing the England international last night, and this morning several sources said that Spurs had backed off of their previous interest.

But it’s a little more interesting that that — Press Association football journo Tom Allnutt is now claiming that Spurs almost matched Chelsea’s offer, and forcing Barkley to make a choice, but Mauricio Pochettino declined to do so.

I don’t know why Spurs would’ve backed off so emphatically for Barkley when the price only turned out to be £15m. Assuming Allnutt is correct, there are a lot of moving parts here. It could be that, as he says, Barkley was set on the Blues and had already made his decision. It could be that Spurs got a whiff of the deal and the wages were too rich for Levy’s blood. Or, maybe Pochettino just changed his mind and thought that Spurs could attract bigger, better transfer targets this summer.

Some will probably construe this as Spurs pulling a sour grapes “we-didn’t-really-want-him-anyway” face saving move. We don’t know, and it ultimately doesn’t really matter. Congratulations on your move, Ross. I hear Vitesse is lovely this time of year.