The 52-year-old, who enjoyed a successful spell at St Mary’s between 2010 and 2013 when he guided the club from League One to the Premier League in successive seasons, has joined the debate about the Dutch international’s desire to secure a move to Liverpool.
Van Dijk has requested a transfer and is currently training on his own as current boss Mauricio Pellegrino does not want him involved with the first-team squad while his future remains unresolved.
However, Adkins has hit out at the former Celtic man and feels he should act in a professional manner.
He told Sky Sports: “A player and a player’s representatives are always going to push to get the best deal they can.
“He needs to be respectful of Southampton – he needs to be training and training well for them. If something does materialise, then that’s just business, that’s football, that’s life. He’s got to deal with that.”
Adkins added: “We’ve got a situation in football where it’s too easy for a player to say ‘I am unhappy’… well the player was not unhappy when he signed a contract not so long ago.
“He has to be respectful of that contract as well and if business gets done, get it done privately and done behind the scenes. If Van Dijk does go, Southampton will get the asking price which seems very expensive at this point in time.”