Liverpool target Virgil van Dijk will ‘never be the same’ if he remains at Southampton, who will be facing a ‘bad situation’ if they decide to keep their captain on the south coast, according to Peter Odemwingie.

Van Dijk, 26, is training on his own after making Mauricio Pellegrino’s side aware of his desire to move to Merseyside this summer. The Saints have remained staunch in their refusal to part with the Holland international, who is of interest to a host of Premier League clubs.
Liverpool’s pursuit of Van Dijk has been well-publicised; the Reds publicly and privately apologised to Southampton for the way they approached the coveted centre-back. Jurgen Klopp’s side announced that their pursuit of Van Dijk ended with that apology, but the former Celtic star is determined to push through a move to Liverpool and work with the German.

Odemwingie, who infamously drove to Queens Park Rangers’ stadium in order to force through a deadline-day move from West Bromwich Albion in 2013 – a deal never materialised – sympathises with Van Dijk and believes his departure from Southampton is now in the best interests of both club and player.

“I don’t think it’ll ever be the same for a player who is going through that situation,” Odemwingie told talkSPORT. “It’s a bad situation for both the player at the club because if he stays, he’s never going to be the same.

“He won’t play the same way and fans will be upset, sometimes just one word from a fan will remind you about what happened in the summer and it can put you off completely, for a whole week or even a whole month.

“I can understand Van Dijk’s point of view. This situation will be difficult for him, there are big clubs going after him. Southampton is a good club with great fans, but it’s absolutely understandable that he wants to make the best of his career. You get more respect if you play at the top clubs and if you challenge for European titles.”

Chelsea and Manchester City have also been credited with interest in Van Dijk this summer, but the Dutchman’s preference is to sign for Liverpool, who have developed a reputation for pilfering Southampton’s stars over the years. Van Dijk still has five years left on his contract with the Saints, who value their prized asset at £60m.

Van Dijk’s days at Southampton appear to be coming to an end despite having signed a new deal last summer.Getty Images

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