John Stones would be “a lunatic” if he signed for Chelsea and should instead join Manchester United, according to former Red Devils defender Rio Ferdinand.
Chelsea have had two bids rejected for the Everton defender, with Roberto Martinez claiming the Toffees will not be forced into selling one of their prized assets.
Both United and Manchester City have since been linked with a move for the former Barnsley man as they look to bolster their own defensive ranks.
And Ferdinand, who retired from professional football at the end of last season having won six Premier League titles and the Champions League in 12 seasons at Old Trafford, feels a move to the Red Devils would be most beneficial to his career.
“If he goes to Manchester United he plays every week, so that’s the right club for him, I think,” he told reporters. “If he goes to Chelsea, he’s not playing every week.
“He’s at that stage of his development where he wants to play every week. If you say to any young footballer to leave a club to sit on the bench, you’ve got to be a lunatic. You have to be.
“I’d buy John Stones if I’m Man United. You’re buying someone who’s going to give you ten years’ service. He’s a great prospect — the best young centre-half in the country at the moment. It’s a no-brainer for me.”
Stones has been compared to Ferdinand due to his confidence in possession and willingness to carry the ball out of defence in a bid to start attacks.
And the former England international admits he is a fan of the 21-year-old and feels he could deal with the pressure of moving for a hefty fee.
“He’s very good on the ball. I took a real interest in him and watched him at Loftus Road against Bobby Zamora, who gave most centre-halves problems last season physically and he handled Bobby well, and that physical element.
“That was one of the areas that I hadn’t really seen him under pressure with and he looked up for that battle. With all the other stuff he’s got, he’s got a real good chance.
“Looking at him as a footballer, technically he plays with a certain amount of maturity, I think he would be ready to go and do that. But he is the better judge of that. I don’t know him personally.
“Huge price tag [so] he is not going to be able to go in under the radar and bed in. He is going to go in, if he signs for Man United, as the number one centre-half; for Chelsea, probably as an understudy for a certain amount of time.”