Graham Potter is confident Yves Bissouma will remain at Brighton and Hove Albion, though conceded the club must be prepared should the midfielder move on in January.
Bissouma, who is currently on international duty with Mali at the Africa Cup of Nations, has been a standout performer since his arrival at Brighton in 2018.
The 25-year-old is reportedly a target for Aston Villa this month, with a £40million fee mooted.
“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 rivals Crystal 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.”
Palace dominated the reverse fixture at Selhurst Park, yet Neal Maupay snatched a late equaliser for Brighton.
Reflecting on Palace’s progress since then, Patrick Vieira said: “(We are more) mature, because when we play games the players improve and I learn a lot about the players. We are in a better place but there is still a long way to go.
“The project and where they are, we’re still behind. But tomorrow is going to be an exciting game for us and we’re really looking forward to it.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Brighton and Hove Albion – Alexis Mac Allister
Alexis Mac Allister scored twice in Brighton’s 3-2 win at Everton in their last top-flight outing, scoring as many goals as he had in his previous 33 Premier League games combined. Just one of the Argentine’s five Premier League goals, however, has come at the Amex Stadium.
Crystal Palace – Odsonne Edouard
Odsonne Edouard has been directly involved in five goals in his last four Premier League appearances (two goals, three assists), two more than he had in his first 13 games in the competition (three goals).
KEY OPTA FACTS
– Brighton are winless in their last five Premier League games against Crystal Palace, alternating between a draw (three) and a defeat (two) each time.
– Each of the last three Premier League meetings between Brighton and Crystal Palace has seen a result altering goal scored in the 90th minute, with the Seagulls earning two draws and the Eagles one win thanks to those strikes. No fixture in Premier League history has seen a 90th minute goal that changed the result of the match in four consecutive games before.
– Brighton lost their first ever Premier League game played on a Friday (1-2 vs Bournemouth) but have since remained unbeaten in all four such games, keeping a clean sheet each time (W3 D1).
– Palace have never won a Premier League game on a Friday, drawing three and losing four of their seven such games.
– After an 11-game winless run in the Premier League, Brighton have now won two of their last three in the competition (D1). The Seagulls have scored as many goals in their last three league games as they had in their previous 10 combined (six).