Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier believes Virgil van Dijk is acting in an "unprofessional" manner and says the way in which the Liverpool target has dealt with the whole transfer saga leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.
Van Dijk, 26, reiterated to the Southampton hierarchy earlier this week that he still wants to leave the south coast this summer and is believed to have his heart set on a move to Merseyside.
The Netherlands international is eager to work with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp but Southampton remain adamant that they will not sell their captain, who has five years left on his contract at the St Mary's Stadium but is currently training away from the rest of Mauricio Pellegrino's squad.
Le Tissier, who scored over 200 goals for Southampton during his 15 years with the club, does not think the whole saga surrounding Van Dijk's move to Liverpool reflects well on the Dutchman and insists that Pellegrino's side are not 'desperate' to cash in on the former Southampton star, who could command a fee of £60m.
"It's been going on long enough, and he's [Van Dijk] still here!" Le Tissier told talkSPORT. "He still wants to be on his own...and to be honest, that's pretty unprofessional.
"He's got four and a half weeks [until the end of the transfer window], but the club have been pretty insistent so far that he signed a five-year contract and he's going nowhere. If players have all the power, he would have gone by now – but it's all rumbled on for a few weeks now and he hasn't got his own way.
"Perhaps the tide might be turning a little bit. The fact a lot of clubs now are in a much healthier financial position means the power might just be shifting back to clubs if they want to dig their heels in. They've got the money, they're not desperate to bag the £60million it would take to get him away from the club, and if Southampton feel like they want to make a stand with Van Dijk, they can."
Liverpool publicly ended their interest in Van Dijk earlier this summer and apologised to Southampton, who were left fuming by the Reds' attempts to sign their star man. Klopp's side are still open to completing a deal for their top defensive target but will only return to the negotiating table when Southampton say that they are prepared to do business.
Van Dijk is currently the best-paid player at Southampton, and while he would stand to earn a lot more at Liverpool, Le Tissier believes the former Groningen centre-half should knuckle down and focus on carrying out his duties in Hampshire until a bid for his services is accepted by the club.
"It's a shame. It doesn't look very good on the player, he's got five years left and the only way he can be sold is if the club accept an offer for him – that hasn't happened, so you have to get on with your job," Le Tissier added.
"I find it pretty distasteful when players start players start refusing to play for clubs when they're paid very good money to be there."