The England Under-21 international’s current contract is set to expire at the end of the season.
Howe said: “As soon as we were made aware that he was out of contract at the end of the season it became No.1 on our priority list.
“We’re very keen for him to stay, and I think I speak on behalf of everyone at the club in saying that.
“We’ve been very impressed by him since we came in and we’re sure he has got a really good future in the game.
“Hopefully we can come to an agreement sooner rather than later.”