Strachan - No Bridge deal without Le Saux

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GORDON STRACHAN insists Wayne Bridge would not have joined Chelsea if Southampton had been prevented from taking Graeme Le Saux in part exchange.

Chelsea forked out £7 million to add Bridge to their Russian revolution at Stamford Bridge and also allowed Le Saux to move to St Mary's.

The veteran full back will prove a valuable replacement for Bridge on the left flank, with the former England international adding great experience to the Saints ranks as they seek to build on last season's promising performance.

Saints boss Strachan concedes it is disappointing to have lost the services of Bridge but feels he has acquired a more than adequate substitute in the guise of Le Saux.

Strachan also revealed that if Le Saux had not been part of the deal, he would not have given the green light to Bridge's sale.

"We may have lost one of the best young full backs in the country but we have one of the most experienced around as a replacement," Strachan told The Daily Express.

"Le Saux falls into the category immediately behind Bridge and Ashley Cole and I thought he might even have forced his way back into the England team last season.

"There would certainly not have been a deal with Chelsea if Le Saux had not been part of it.

"He might be 34 but age does not bother me. He is fit and ready, excited at joining us and he will be my first choice."