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By ESPN Staff

Bullard claims denied as Bolton sign Makukula

Bolton Wanderers have signed Benfica striker Ariza Makukula on loan until the end of the season but are no closer to landing Jimmy Bullard, according to Fulham boss Roy Hodgson.

Wanderers had a bid for the England midfielder rejected earlier this week, after failing to match the Cottagers' valuation - thought to be around £5million.

Negotiations to extend the 18 months remaining on Bullard's contract are reported to have stalled, but Hodgson insists there have been no further offers for the 30-year-old.

''We've heard nothing about Jimmy recently. I don't know what Bolton are doing,'' said Hodgson. ''They spoke to me and our chief executive Alistair Mackintosh some days ago. They made an inquiry for the player, were told our valuation for him - and they offered something considerably less.

''If they're not interested, they're not interested. Bolton made that inquiry, but that's it so far. If they're not pursuing the matter then that's good news - because it means we can keep him.''

In a bizarre twist, Bolton boss Gary Megson claimed to have been offered Bullard by five different agents - a development that baffles Hodgson.

''It surprises me, because Jimmy has an agent,'' said Hodgson, who has lost Bullard to a hip injury for Sunday's Premier League trip to West Ham. The dealings our chief executive has had with him over the new contract have always been done through that agent.

''I don't understand how Megson has had five calls. But if he says it's happened, it's happened. Nothing will bother me about Jimmy until the day comes when we face losing him. It's all speculation right now.

''I'm still hopeful that the window will pass and that Jimmy will still be here. I think talks are still ongoing over his new contract. I've heard nothing for a week.''

It has been a quiet January at Craven Cottage as the transfer window hits the halfway stage - and Hodgson hopes it will stay that way.

''Our policy is that because we're happy with our players we can keep them and keep things the way they've been going,'' he said. ''Our major fear for the transfer window is that people like Bullard will be stolen away from us.

''We know where we stand in the market, and if big clubs come in for players it's difficult to nail their feet to the floor. But that's not been happening, so it's a quiet time. I'm enjoying it at the moment, letting the other clubs deal with the turmoil.''

Makukula, Bolton's loan signing, is a powerful centre-forward who started his career at Vitoria Guimaraes before going on to play for Leganes, Nantes, Valladolid, Gimnastic de Tarragona and Maritimo before moving to Portuguese giants Benfica 12 months go.

The 26-year-old shot to prominence in Spain and has earned four caps for Portugal, scoring on his debut against Kazakhstan in October 2007.

The player becomes manager Gary Megson's second signing of the transfer window following the arrival of Sebastien Puygrenier from Zenit St Petersburg.


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