Daily Echo:

FORMER Saint Gordon ‘Flash’ Watson believes Virgil van Dijk has been “ill-advised” if he thinks a move to Liverpool is a good idea.

Watson, who played for Saints in the 1990s, reckons that if the Dutchman moved to Anfield it would only be for the money as trophies are far from guaranteed.

The ex-Dell striker also said that it’s already too late for the 26-year-old to leave now, with Saints needing time to find a replacement.

Van Dijk is currently training on his own after telling Saints boss Mauricio Pellegrino that “he wants to leave” and has been left in England while the rest of the squad have gone to a training camp in France.

“The situation is laughable,” Watson said. “He’s our best player and prized asset. He’s up there with the two best centre-backs in the Premier League.

“If he went to a Barcelona he’d be waved off with everyone behind him. Nobody would deny him of such a move.

“But Liverpool? No, he’s way better than that. The whole thing is dirty, after everything that’s happened.”

Liverpool apologised and dropped all interest in Van Dijk after Saints reported the Reds to the Premier League for an ‘illegal approach’.

But the whole saga has rumbled on to this point, with the player told the club are not willing to sell.

Watson believes a move to Anfield would just be for the cash and nothing else.

“He’s been ill-advised,” he said. “A move to Liverpool would just be a pay day, it wouldn’t be for trophies or accolades.

“It’s only for money and with Barcelona in need of a defender, you might have them knocking on the door soon.

“Van Dijk should only be moving to one of the best clubs in the world - Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Barcelona.

“If he went to one of them, he’d leave with Saints’ best wishes.

“You go to Liverpool, there’s no guarantee of trophies, just money.

“To further his career, he needs a move to one of the best.”

The 46-year-old, who played 67 times for Saints between 1994-1997, says Van Dijk can’t go now anyway.

“It’s too late for him to leave now, he needs to accept he’s staying,” he said.

“If he’s that desperate to leave he can go in January, in six months time.

“At the moment, there’s no time for Saints to find a suitable replacement.

“He’s going to be difficult enough to replace without Saints having to rush in and find someone new to come in for the new season.

“They can’t rush in to finding someone else. Van Dijk is an integral part of the team.”