Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore accepts agents play a necessary role in the game.

Figures recently released by the Premier League revealed more than £77million was spent by clubs on agents’ fees in 2011-12.

Saints spent £833,570 on agents’ fees in the same period – less than any Premier League club apart from Norwich, Wigan and Swansea.

Manchester City paid the most – £9.7m.

Scudamore said: “I am not going to get involved in precise figures but I believe there are a lot of transactions where it is unnecessary to have agents involved, or to the level they are involved.

“When we do see transactions come through with three or four agents involved, it always looks unnecessary.

“But it is the cost of doing business in the competitive environment.

“The clubs clearly don’t pay agents’ fees unless they feel they absolutely have to, unless they feel they are put in that position.

“There is a role for agents and agents do a good job. “You can’t expect these players to represent themselves entirely. “There is a role for an intermediary in the game.”

Saints were by no means the highest spenders on agents’ fees in the second tier last season.

West Ham spent a whopping £4.3m, while Reading (£1.6m), Crystal Palace (£1.1m) and Cardiff City (£927,000) all spent more.