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Hodgson denies Smalling talk, coy on Beattie

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson believes there is no truth in reports Arsenal are lining up a bid for defender Chris Smalling. There have been numerous reports in the press suggesting Arsenal are looking to sign Smalling for a fee in the region of £7 million. However, Hodgson says there has been no contact over the 20-year-old centre-back and believes the speculation is emerging from outside sources.

"If Arsenal are interested then I guess they better get in touch with us," he said. "I have not spoken to Arsene at all. It has never been mentioned, and our chief executive has not spoken to their chief executive.

"Presumably that means they have got no interest, or the interest is being generated by someone else in the club or outside the club.

"Arsene made it clear to me with Brede Hangeland. He said, 'If I had been interested in signing Brede Hangeland, the first person I would have contacted would have been you'. I believe that, and fully expect when he wants to sign a Fulham player, I will be the first one to hear."

Fulham have also been linked with a number of strikers following injuries to Clint Dempsey and Bobby Zamora, and it has been suggested they could make a move for Stoke's James Beattie. Hodgson, though, has refused to be drawn on the accuracy of those reports.

"Beattie is just one of those names that you get associated with," he said. "I am not really in a position to say anything about our transfer targets, or the players we are being associated with, because there are so many.

"Occasionally there may be someone in there with whom there is some interest, amongst all the ones we have not even thought about, but I do not want to get involved in discussing individual cases.

"[Chief executive] Alistair [Mackintosh] is working along certain lines and with certain targets, but I would rather keep those to myself at the moment rather than having to admit or deny to every name which is thrown at me, because there are so many. We seem to be a popular club for linking names with."

Hodgson added: "We have had injuries in certain areas, so it is no surprise when a front player or full-back is available at any time, we are one of the clubs who are going to be linked.

"We are looking to maybe strengthen in those two areas, because we have lost Clint Dempsey and Paul Konchesky for a considerable amount of time, but it will be a question of what players are available and whether or not we think in this transfer market it is a good thing to go for it, or to hope the injuries are not too serious and we will get the players back."

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