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Aug 29, 2009

Hodgson ''surprised'' over lack of bids for Hangeland

Roy Hodgson is surprised no club has bid for Brede Hangeland - but is still keen to hang on to his prize asset.

Hodgson revealed that Fulham have not received any inquiry for the defender and believes that some rumours of Hangeland wanting to leave may have been instigated by his agent.

Only Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool boasted a better defensive record than Fulham last year - when they conceded just 34 goals in the Premier League and Hangeland was an ever-present part of that defence, making 44 appearances to help Fulham qualify for this year's Europa League.

He has continued to impress at the heart of the Cottagers defence this season, and Arsene Wenger has publicly stated his admiration for the player - sparking rumours that the 28-year-old could leave Craven Cottage.

''It has been an incredible summer of mass media speculation, which I'm quite pleased about - because Brede deserves it,'' said Hodgson. ''But the simple truth is not once has a club rung me or (Fulham chief executive) Alistair (Mackintosh) and asked about Brede and what price we'd need to sell him.

''I'm a little bit surprised that we haven't had any clubs knocking on the door saying we want to buy him from you, but I'm obviously not regretting it. We have had to accept that, because he is anxious to get a new contract at this club, his agent has been quite active at marketing him.''

With the transfer window shutting on Tuesday afternoon, Aston Villa would be Hangeland's last game in a Fulham shirt if he leaves. But Hodgson hopes the £2.5m signing chooses to stay.

''I suppose there's two or three days left, and it still might happen. But I think that it's great if he stays here,'' he added. ''He has been fantastic for us. I think he is a very good footballer.''

Should Hangeland leave Fulham, the club would no doubt command a large fee for the Norwegian international and Hodgson believes Man City's summer spending spree has inflated the market and is shocked that a defender can now be worth more than £20m.

''Maybe in the past all of us would have been a bit sceptical about a centre-half costing £20m,'' he continued. ''We could have seen it for a midfielder or a forward but I wouldn't have thought centre-backs cost £20m - but now they do.

''A top class centre-back really wanted by one of the big clubs in the country that has got the money could easily be a 20m plus transfer.''

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