Football FanCastcolumnist Rob Facey says that Fulham cannot afford to lose Brede Hangeland at any price on the eve of the season.
Roy Hodgson has told Arsene Wenger to stump up or shut up inthe chase to sign defender Brede Hangeland.
The Daily Mailclaims that Hodgson has slapped a £15m price tag on the imposing Norwayinternational.
Wenger has funds at his disposal but, as usual, is reluctantto spend too much, preferring to invest in youth.
The Gunners, after losing Kolo Toure, have signed Ajaxcaptain Thomas Vermaelen to strengthen the defence but have their sights set on Fulham's Player of the Year as they look to consolidate their Champions Leaguepush.
Hodgson is said to be lining up Boro's Robert Huth who isunderstood to be available for a slightly cheaper fee now that the club are playingdown in the Championship, but losing Hangeland would be a huge blow this closeto the big kick-off.
The Times isreporting that Fulham have strengthened their squad in other areas afteragreeing a £2.5m deal for striker Kalu Uche from Spanish side Almeria and fanswill be hoping that he turns out to be another Hodgson gamble in the marketthat plays off.
But filling the void left by Hangeland would be a muchtougher task and is a gamble that the Cottagers cannot afford to take at thisstage.
After saving them from relegation the season before last,the West London side have eased into the next stage of the Europa League and,after a series of attractive yet fruitful performances last season, havequickly developed into the neutral's favourite to watch in the Premier League.
They are still a long way off being a true Premier Leagueforce but in order to carry on progressing every year they cannot sell theirbest players.
Whatever happens, Hodgson will have a Plan B – he alwaysdoes – but this would be a huge blow, even at £15m.