BOSS Eddie Howe admitted keeping his Cherries squad together could be “out of our control” amid speculation over the future of Nathan Ake.

The defender has been linked with Manchester City and Chelsea, with Sky Sports reporting the latter have a £40million buy-back option, from when the Dutchman signed for Howe’s side in 2017.

Asked about Ake, as well as how important it was to keep hold of his players, Howe told Sky Sports News: “It would be obviously my wish to try to hold on to everybody but some of these things are out of our control.

"We will wait and see. I don't want to give you evasive answers but I am in no control of that at the moment.”

He added: "A lot of things with transfers - trying to bring players in, trying to keep the squad we have is out of my hands.

"Obviously, we will be doing our best to be as strong as we can into the second half of the season."

Ake is likely to miss Saturday’s trip to Chelsea (3pm) having been forced off with a hamstring problem against Liverpool last time out.

Also set to be without Steve Cook, Cherries are stretched at centre-back. Chris Mepham, Jack Simpson and Simon Francis remain available.