Saints remain adamant they will not have a headline sponsor whose values go against their own – but admit they do need to look at the financial as well as the moral side of any potential new deal.

The club’s tie up with their major sponsor, Virgin Media, ends after this season.

They are in talks about a potential renewal but are likely to be able to get a far more lucrative deal elsewhere.

Gambling firms are the main shirt sponsor of nine of the 20 Premier League clubs this season, and Saints are likely to have no problem in securing themselves a sizeable increase in commercial income if they went down this route too.

However, it remains a moral dilemma for the club to weigh up.

“The moral part still plays a big part of it, but the financial element has to play some part too,” said Saints MD Toby Steele.

“Depending on the size of the moral question would depend which one we would go for.

“We wouldn’t partner with somebody we didn’t feel was right for us as a club. We wouldn’t just take the money.

“But we do have to weigh up all aspects and when we are competing against other clubs whose commercial revenues are growing as well, for us to stay competitive on the pitch we have to look at the moral and financial side.”

There remains a chance that Virgin Media could stay on as shirt sponsors after the end of their current three-year contract, but financially it likely to be far less lucrative deal than they could get elsewhere.

“We are still discussing with them a potential renewal and are talking to some other potential partners as well and keeping our options open as we get towards the end of the season and see what the best opportunity is,” reported Steele.

“We have a few things available to us which we are considering.”

He added: “It will definitely be an increase and depending on who we go with depends on whether it will be significant or not.”