Bolton manager Gary Megson is determined to hang on to highly-rated defender Gary Cahill, admitting it would be "suicide" to cash in on a player who has not yet reached his peak.
The 23-year-old has forced his way onto the fringe of Fabio Capello's England squad after numerous stand-out performances for Wanderers since his £5million move from Aston Villa in January 2008. Capello was in the crowd to watch Bolton's 2-1 victory at Birmingham on Saturday and Cahill has already been linked with Tottenham, AC Milan and Juventus.
Megson told the Bolton News: "Football-wise it would be suicide to sell him in January."
The centre-back has twice been called into the national squad to cover for injuries but could earn a place on merit when the Italian coach makes his selection for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Ukraine and Belarus.
Megson moved quickly this summer in getting Cahill to sign a new three-year contract, removing a reported £8million release clause, and has no intention of letting his defensive linchpin leave.
"This club got itself into a nightmare scenario over Gary," Megson added.
"There was a set fee that he could have gone for. We did brilliantly in the summer to get rid of that and we're in a position now where we don't have to sell him.
Megson knows the damage losing key players in the winter transfer window can do after selling Nicolas Anelka to Chelsea for £15million - although he used some of that cash to buy Cahill three weeks later.
"Selling real assets in January is a nightmare," Megson added.
"We've been there before with Nicolas Anelka, didn't win in 10 games and escaped relegation only by the skin of our teeth in the last five games."
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