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Megson confident of hanging on to Cahill

Gary Megson is confident Bolton Wanderers would be able to resist an "over-the-odds" bid for Gary Cahill should any of Europe's wealthy clubs come calling in the January transfer window.

Manchester United are the latest to be linked with the centre-back, joining Chelsea, Milan and Juventus on an impressive list of teams apparently keeping tabs on the 23-year-old.

Cahill's stock has soared of late, notably since being selected in the England squad, with manager Fabio Capello watching him again in Bolton's 2-1 win at Birmingham on Saturday.

With Cahill hot property, Megson confirmed earlier this week one possible exit was closed over the summer with the signing of a new three-year deal that removed an £8m escape clause. Megson admits it "worried the life" out of him and it would have been "a disaster" for Bolton if Cahill had been allowed to leave for such a sum. That was until the Bolton chairman, Phil Gartside, resolved the matter, leaving the club in a position where they can reject any offer. "Anything now would involve three parties – Gary, the club that wants him, and most of all this club," Megson said. "Although there are two [transfer] windows, the one in January is a market only for people with lots and lots of money because you have to pay way over the odds.

"Obviously you can make a few quid if you've got one of those players other clubs are prepared to pay over the odds for. But I'm sure we won't be doing that."

But as Everton were unable to stave off Manchester City's advances for Joleon Lescott, Bolton might find themselves in a similar position with Cahill. "Football-wise I would never sell him, but it's not all just about football," Megson added. "I don't make the decision on finance, but we now don't have to sell him for financial reasons, and we won't do."

Despite Cahill being in Capello's thoughts, he has yet to make his international debut, although that may be fast approaching. With England having booked their ticket for next year's World Cup, the final two qualifiers next week in Ukraine and home to Belarus afford Capello an opportunity to experiment. Megson would certainly hand Cahill a run-out, but then he admits he is slightly biased. "I'd have given him a chance in the Croatia game [which England won 5-1 last month] because I know him," added Megson.

"But it doesn't matter about the context of the actual game from my point of view because I see him week in and week out. I would be confident enough, with the knowledge I have of Gary, to chuck him in whatever the game. But now England have qualified, they've that momentum, that bubble, and everything seems on a high, there is the opportunity to play Gary, or anybody else. But that's the manager's decision. All Gary can do is keep playing well and hope the manager comes down on his side at some stage."

Bolton's striker Johan Elmander, meanwhile, is out of action for at least 10 days with a hamstring injury sustained in a reserve game on Monday, which will probably rule him out of Sweden's matches with Denmark and Albania.