Hodgson talks Duff, Hangeland
Roy Hodgson today confirmed Fulham are closing in on Damien Duff, but denied Brede Hangeland will be moving to Arsenal. The Cottagers have offered Newcastle United £4m for the Republic of Ireland winger, who became a regular at Blackburn Rovers when Hodgson took over at Ewood Park in 1997.
The Fulham manager rates Duff highly and the 30-year-old is keen to move back to west London, where he spent three years with Chelsea. "The clubs are talking and I hope the deal will go through. He's a player that interests us," Hodgson said.
"Damien and I go back a long way from when we worked together at Blackburn. He wants to come back to west London. Damien had injury problems at Chelsea and has done well at Newcastle given the turmoil there.
"Every time he's played for Ireland he's consistently been one of their best performers. We know what we'd be getting with Damien - he's an experienced and quality player."
Hangeland expectation, Viduka frustration
Hangeland's future at Craven Cottage has been an ongoing source of speculation since the centre-back rose to prominence on the back of his superb form last season. Arsenal, who need to increase their defensive options, have continually been linked with a £15m move for the Norway international, but Hodgson insisted his prized asset is staying put.
"There has been no approach from any club for Hangeland and as a result we're expecting him to play for us this season," he said.
Hodgson reached a dead end in his pursuit of Mark Viduka, now a free agent after leaving Newcastle, with the Australian opting against staying in the Premier League. "I met Mark when he came down to London and spent a bit of time with him to ascertain what his intentions were," he said.
"I wanted to know if he wanted to continue playing in the Premier League, but by the end of our discussion it was pretty clear he'd made his decision to leave it behind and start a new life. With Mark it was always going to be a long shot, because we realised when he left Newcastle it wasn't to go somewhere else, it was to start a new life."
Fulham have received no offer from Bordeaux for Diomansy Kamara according to Hodgson, who has done little business in the transfer window so far. Stephen Kelly and Bjorn Helge Riise are the only new arrivals, but the former Inter Milan coach is content with the make-up of his squad.
"The squad as it is is strong enough. If no business happens it won't be the end of the world," he said. Fulham open their Premier League campaign at Portsmouth tomorrow, with Hodgson insisting survival is still the over-riding objective.
"Success this season would be to finish in a similar place to last season, but that won't be easy," he said. "The league is so difficult to stay in that clubs like us have to have a clear bottom line objective, and that's to still be in the Premier League next season."