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Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has told Everton defender and Chelsea transfer target John Stones that “he would be mad to join Chelsea,” and that he should join Manchester United instead.

Given the fact that in the short term at least the young Everton centre-back would have a difficult time in Jose Mourinho’s team fighting for a starting place against John Terry and Gary Cahill, Ferdinand said: “If he goes to United, he plays every week so that’s the right club for him.

“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, ‘Leave a club to sit on the bench’, you’ve got to be a lunatic – you have to be.”

Ferdinand believes that there is a place for the 21-year-old England international in United manager Louis van Gaal’s team, with the Dutchman still needing to bolster his defence for the upcoming season.

The former England International said: “I’d buy Stones if I’m Man Utd. He’s someone who’s going to give you 10 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.

“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.”

Mourinho meanwhile has made two bids for the Everton star, the last of which was £25 million, still £9 million short of what Everton value the player.

Ferdinand added: “I think he’s the real deal. 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.

“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.”