Rio Ferdinand has urged John Stones to think carefully about his future, suggesting he could become a linchpin in Manchester United's backline instead of a supporting act for Chelsea.
The Everton centre back has been the subject of intense speculation in recent weeks after the Toffees, who insist he is going nowhere, twice rejected big money bids from Chelsea for the 21-year-old.
Jose Mourinho is believed to see the former Barnsley defender as a natural successor to John Terry, but Ferdinand says if he leaves Goodison Park he could get regular football at United.
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"If he goes to Man United, he plays every week so that's the right club for him," Ferdinand is quoted as saying in several national newspapers.
"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."
The ex-England captain can also see plenty of room for defensive improvements at Old Trafford.
"I don't think (Van Gaal) knows his best defence - that's a problem in itself," he said.
"Part of the reason he doesn't know it is because he hasn't had a chance to watch them all play over a long time - consistently for 12 or 15 games. If you don't get that familiarity between you as defenders, it's difficult to build foundations."