Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink believes that there has “always been a bit of friction” between Chelsea manager Antonio Conte and Diego Costa.
The Spain international recently revealed that he was informed by Conte that he was no longer wanted at the club via a text message, as reported by The Guardian.
Despite the striker scoring 20 Premier League goals to help the Blues lift the Premier League title, Conte reportedly told Costa that he was not part of this season’s plans.
It is uncertain where the 28-year-old will go, with the Daily Star reporting that Costa wants to return to Atletico Madrid, but will not leave Chelsea until the Spanish club’s transfer ban has come to an end, which will be January 2018.
The forward has always been a controversial figure on the pitch, but tensions seemed to be evident when reports emerged of a training-ground bust-up between himself and Conte midway through the season.
It is thought that the pair argued over transfer interest from the lucrative Chinese Super League, and Hasselbaink thinks that there is more to this split than meets the eye.
He told ITV:
“We all know Costa is a smart individual and I think he has played this to his benefit. I think there is more behind it than just a text. Conte is way too smart and way too experienced [for] it to be just that. I think he was always going to let Costa go. I think there has always been a bit of friction between them and I think Conte is thinking about the team and the bigger picture.”