Manchester United should be favouring Tottenham’s Toby Alderweireld over Leicester defender Harry Maguire, says Rio Ferdinand, while they also need to get the best out of Paul Pogba.
The Red Devils are scrambling around trying to find a new centre-half ahead of Thursday’s transfer deadline, with several options having been considered as the summer window runs down.
Belgium international Alderweireld appears to have emerged as the favoured choice of Jose Mourinho, with Goal revealing that a compromise has been reached with Spurs over a fee, and that decision is supported by Ferdinand.
The former United defender told the Mirror: “Harry Maguire did great at the World Cup, but of the players potentially available he would not be my first choice. I would go for Alderweireld, all day long, because he is suited to the way United play.
“But it will take more than a quality defender to galvanise them, and this is where you have to respect Mourinho’s track record and his history of winning trophies.
“Do I think he will still be manager of Manchester United this time next year? Put it this way: I hope so, because if he is still there, it means they have been successful and won something.
“I wouldn’t write him off. He has won 20 trophies as a manager.
“He knows how to galvanise teams by instilling a siege mentality sometimes and he is going to need all his dark arts to create that atmosphere of ‘Manchester United against the world’ to make them formidable again.
“But it’s not just new signings that is going to be the catalyst. It’s the manager who sets the tone, and he’s got a few big issues to address.”
One of the biggest challenges facing Mourinho is bringing the best out of Pogba, with the Frenchman having shown during a triumphant World Cup campaign with his country this summer what he is capable of when confident and played in a favoured role.
Ferdinand added: “He’s got to get Paul Pogba to play for United the way he did for France at the World Cup.
“The talent at Mourinho’s disposal is undeniable. But can he get the best out of them, and play in a way that maximises their ability?
“It’s going to be a big ask for United to win the title, and I’m afraid I would be surprised if they made serious inroads in the Champions League as well.”