Saints play down Perrin talk

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Southampton chairman Rupert Lowe has dismissed suggestions the club are ready to appoint Alain Perrin as Gordon Strachan's successor.

Speculation had intimated the French coach was top of Saints' list to replace Strachan, who is leaving St Mary's at the end of the season.

The reports also claimed Perrin could be handed the reins in a matter of weeks, rather than the South Coast club waiting until the summer before making a change at the helm.

Perrin recently admitted he was eager to manage in The Premiership following his mixed spell in charge of French powerhouse Marseille.

After guiding l'OM in to the UEFA Champions League in his first season, he was sacked in January following a lacklustre run of form.

But Saints supremo Lowe has refuted any possibility of Perrin being installed in the hot seat at St Mary's before the season's end.

Meanwhile, Southampton have announced pre-tax profits of £1.9 million for the six months up to November 30, 2003, largely due to the sale of Wayne Bridge to Chelsea.

England full back Bridge was sold to The Blues for £7 million and his departure enabled Saints to turn around a £3.8 million loss for the previous six months.

Bridge's departure also ensured the club's player trading was in the black with Lowe content with the financial results.

Lowe said: "Bridge was a home-grown player and therefore had a nil book value.

"The proceeds were used to further strengthen the squad, with seven players added at a cost of £6.8 million.

"The new player purchases meant an increase in player amortisation to £3.2 million from £2.5 million and an increase in the book value of players from £13.8 million to £18.1 million."

Southampton also managed to reduce their net debt from £26.1 million in November 2002 to £21.1 million for the same month last year.