CHERRIES boss Eddie Howe says Callum Wilson is ignoring speculation surrounding his future and insists his personal preference is not to sell the striker at any price.

Rumours linking Wilson with a move to Chelsea have gathered pace with West Ham this week also touted as an interested party.

However, Howe has consistently stated the 26-year-old is part of his plans.

Asked if the speculation had proved a distraction, Howe told the Daily Echo: “Not for me. I’d like to think not for Callum. I’ve not seen him one day look as if he is reacting to a story or reading too much into things.

“Callum is experienced enough to know – and he has been linked with other clubs ever since he signed here and started scoring goals – that it happens.

“It’s part of football and the higher you go, the more noise there is. It’s very important you forget about it, ignore it and concentrate on what you are doing day to day.

“Callum has done that very well to this point and I’ve not really felt the need to speak to him about it.”

Put to him that the rumours were a compliment, Howe said: “Of course.

“You have to try to embrace it, in a way. Use it as a confidence booster, an acknowledgment that you are doing something right in your performances.

“But don’t read too much into it. Don’t expend time and emotional energy focusing on it because it’s not something you can control.”

Wilson, who netted on his England debut against the United States in November, has scored 10 goals in 23 appearances for Cherries this season.

On Thursday, the Daily Mail reported the ex-Coventry ace had become the “number one transfer target” of West Ham should they sell striker Marko Arnautovic.

The publication claims the Hammers “want to make an ambitious play for Wilson’s signature” as a replacement for the Austrian, who has been linked with a move to an unnamed Chinese Super League club.

The speculation came fewer than 24 hours after Sky Sports said Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri would be willing to pay "up to £50million" for Wilson if he could not sign Gonzalo Higuain.

Asked if he would sell for the right price, Howe said: “It’s just my opinion but I wouldn’t sell at any price. But I’m the manager of the team, trying to create the best team I can.

“We desperately want to take the team forward and to do that, we have to keep our best players.

“He’s a very important member of the team. He has unique attributes which really complement what we do.

“He has been a really good goalscorer for us, which is the hardest thing to do in the sport. We value him very highly.

“I’ve been told about the speculation – it’s not something which I seek to read. It’s a waste of time for me to do so.

“It’s business as normal. Callum has been bright and bubbly this week so there are no problems there.”