SAINTS chairman Michael Wilde has revealed George Burley might have to sell players if he wants to bring in more new signings in the New Year.

Wilde admits he cannot guarantee that extra money will be made available for Burley if the latter was to ask for it during the January window.

"We would have to look at the squad as a whole," he told the Daily Echo.

"I can't say what money would be made available - it might depend on us having to offload players before we can bring new ones in."

Wilde's comments will raise fears among fans that Welsh international Gareth Bale, the club's most bankable asset by far, might be sold to raise funds.

Wilde and his board have always maintained that Saints are under no pressure to sell the 17-year-old Welsh starlet.

And the chairman knows it would be a public relations disaster if they did - given the abuse handed out to previous chairman Rupert Lowe for selling Theo Walcott last January.

Wilde continued: "George was given £7m last summer and if he wanted to bring in anyone else in January we would look at the overall quality of the squad, and the financial position, before doing anything.

"It's not a case of George asking for some money and the board just writing out a cheque - it doesn't work like that.

"£7m is not a small sum of money for Southampton FC.

"We have to make sure that the squad is being maximised.

"The squad is of a size that George is comfortable with.

"If it's a question of keeping the squad size the same yet improving the quality, I'm confident George could do that.

"He's done it before.

"I'm still very confident that the players we have got now will do a good job for us."

Full story in today's Daily Echo