Comolli admits they feared missing out on the then Saints starlet to Manchester United.
"Our biggest concern was Manchester United," Comolli told the Daily Express.
"Ryan Giggs used to call Gareth all the time because of the Welsh connection, telling him to come to United. All the clubs were on to Gareth and would go and see him. He was not a secret. We thought United would come in and we would have a battle on our hands.
"But they never moved. They didn't come in - which was good news for us."