Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe is not surprised to hear Tottenham are reportedly keeping a close eye on Nathan Ake – but stressed the defender remains a “massive part” of his team.
Dutchman Ake joined the Cherries on a permanent move from Chelsea during the summer following a successful loan spell.
Spurs are said to be tracking the 23-year-old, with a view to bolstering their own defences in the January window.
Howe, though, feels such speculation is a credit to the approach of a player, whose focus remains very much on continuing his progress at Bournemouth.
“I think that’s a compliment to Nathan and how he’s played since he signed for us permanently,” Howe said.
“He’s been a model of consistency. He picked up all the player awards that he did at the end of last season and he’s carried that form into this (campaign), so I have been really pleased with him.”
The Bournemouth manager continued at a press conference: “I would say with any type of speculation that you are linked with, the clubs he’s been mentioned with, it’s a good sign.
“However, that doesn’t mean we’re about to lose him – he’s a massive part of what we are doing.”
On the source of the transfer rumours, Howe insisted: “Nothing from our side, where it comes from I don’t know. It is one of those things which happened.
“It’s inevitable (to be linked) when the team is doing well people will naturally highlight our players as potential players who can go on and play at a higher level, bigger club.
“I look at it as compliment for the team. It certainly won’t disrupt Nathan, knowing how level-headed he is and how conscientious he is towards his work.
“For him, he is such a good personality, it won’t affect him in any way.”
Bournemouth head into Saturday’s derby with Southampton looking to pick up from the 4-0 win at Watford before the international break, which put Howe’s side in sixth place.
The Saints, meanwhile, are scrapping for points at the other end of the table as Mark Hughes looks to progress the club on from last season’s relegation battle.
It is somewhat a reversal of fortunes on the south coast, given how far the Cherries have come since not so long ago facing the threat of liquidation.
Howe hopes to get plenty more opportunities to tackle their local rivals in the top flight.
“I definitely think it (rivalry) has grown from a point a few years ago, when we hadn’t been at this level before,” said the Bournemouth boss, who also played in the lower leagues for the club.
“Naturally I don’t think that rivalry was there. It has the scope to get bigger, but that will determine on both teams continuing at this level.”
Howe added: “We respect Southampton a lot, they are a very good club with very good players, so we don’t underestimate them at all, because we know football can change very quickly.”