Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 2 August 2014

Arsenal face fight to sign Hangeland from Fulham

Fulham boss Roy Hodgson has warned Arsenal he will do everything possible to keep Brede Hangeland at Craven Cottage this summer.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is preparing for a season without Kolo Toure and Philippe Senderos as centre-back options and is known as an admirer of Norway international Hangeland.

Hangeland, 28, has been offered a new contract at Fulham and Hodgson insists his player is happy at the club, even if he is braced for interest from other sides.

"As far as we're concerned we want Brede Hangeland to stay with us here," Hodgson said. "We are going to be as desperate as a club can be to hold onto him.

"In the meantime the speculation will be abounding and we will get on with the job and try not to be too disturbed by them.

"He is happy here at Fulham and not desperately seeking a move elsewhere but we also know there are bigger clubs out there than Fulham and if one comes along we'll have to deal with the situation.

"Let's hope that is a bridge we don't have to cross."

Hangeland is in the squad for the Europa League clash against FK Vectra, with Fulham leading 3-0 from the first leg against the Lithuanian side.

After featuring in that win Hangeland is cup-tied for the Champions League - but Hodgson is not shocked to hear the centre-back being linked with top clubs.

"It's no surprise he has been linked with clubs because really good quality centre-halves are always at a premium," he said.

"When a club like Arsenal - or Manchester City or Liverpool - when they lose a player the attention will always turn towards who the other good centre-backs are in the Premier League and who they could be looking at.

"Arsenal have done their business very quietly and they keep things to themselves. We have had no contact with Arsenal and whether there is an interest only Arsene knows. When I see him interviewed he says he has enough centre-halves and is not in the market for one. Only he knows what his true feelings are."

Hodgson, meanwhile, is closing in on the signing of South Africa midfielder Kagiso "KG" Dikgacoi.

The Cottagers have agreed a fee with Golden Arrows and are awaiting a tribunal before Dikgacoi is granted a work permit.

"We reached an agreement with the club," said Hodgson. "But it will have to go to a tribunal because we have to apply for a work permit.

"We're talking about a guy whose played the last 17 matches for South Africa, who's a very key figure in their World Cup team coming up.

"It would be a bit strong to say he's been on trial here. He came over once before, and we liked him, but he was really unfit, and this time he wanted to show us 'this is what I really am like'.

"But it was less of a trial because we knew the player."

Hodgson will be without Simon Davies (foot) and Toni Kallio (Achilles) against Vectra.

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