'Adapt and plan' - Graham Potter offers cryptic Yves Bissouma update amid increasing Aston Villa transfer link

Brighton and Hove Albion's star midfielder Yves Bissouma continues to be the subject of intense transfer speculation as Aston Villa are the latest club to be strongly linked

Albion head coach Graham Potter has helped Yves Bissouma thrive in the Premier League
Albion head coach Graham Potter has helped Yves Bissouma thrive in the Premier League

Head coach Graham Potter says Albion are confident of keeping influential Yves Bissouma at the club this January transfer window.

Albion's star midfielder continues to be linked with a move away from the Amex Stadium with Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa in the running to bid for the £40m rated midfielder.

Bissouma, who has 18 months remaining on his contract, is currently away on international duty with Mali at the Africa Cup of Nations and will miss Albion's Friday night clash with old rivals Crystal Palace at the Amex Stadium.

The 25-year-old midfielder joined Albion in 2018 for £15m from Lille and under the guidance of Potter has matured into one of the best midfielders in the Premier League.

His displays over the last few season have also caught the eye of Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Real Madrid but Villa, who have added Philippe Coutinho and Lucas Digne already this window, are said to in pole-position.

The midlands club are determined to kick-start the Gerrard era in style and Bissouma would be a significant statement for the team who are currently five points and five places below Albion in the Premier League standings.

"Players at this level, and Yves is the same, they know this time of year speculation fills newspapers," said Potter ahead of Friday's clash with Palace.

"It is part of what they have to deal with and they also know they have to focus on their football and know what they are doing.

"They then let the other stuff take care of itself and focus on their football. That is all they can do.

"There are lots of ifs and buts. I'm confident. Yves is enjoying his football here but as I have said with the transfer window you never know.

"It does not matter what I say because you never know, so we have to adapt for anything and plan for something you can't foresee. We are in a good place but we will see."