John Stones
John Stones has been subject of intense speculation regarding his futureGetty Images

Everton defender John Stones would be a "lunatic" to join Premier League champions Chelsea over Manchester United, according to former England captain Rio Ferdinand.

The Independent has reported that the Blues and United are vying for Stones' signature, with the Goodison Park club holding out for £34m ($53m) after rejecting two bids from Jose Mourinho's side.

Stones would be seen as a long-term replacement for captain John Terry at Chelsea, but perhaps be forced to start down the pecking order in west London and Ferdinand says the England international would be better suited to moving to United, where he would be first choice.

"If he goes to Man United, he plays every week so that's the right club for him," the ex-Old Trafford defender said according to The Guardian. "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. 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. He's got to ask himself: 'Am I ready for that [pressure]? Can I deal with that?' Those are the questions he has got to ask. I don't know him personally. 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."

Ramos staying at Real Madrid

While a move for Stones hangs in the balance, one deal which definitely off is a move for Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos after the Spanish World Cup winner agreed to sign a new contract, according to Marca.

"I always knew that was never a goer," Ferdinand lamented. "I said at the beginning on Twitter that he's obviously up for a new contract [at Real] and he may be using United in that respect. Whether that's true or not I don't know but he's signing a new deal according to what we read."

Constant injury problems and tinkering with the club's formation meant there were constant alterations to the United defence last season, with manager Louis van Gaal unable to strike upon a first-choice pairing at the heart of his backline.

Such inconsistent selection ensured United were unable to stage a bid to win back the Premier League title last term and Ferdinand has urged the Dutch tactician to be consistent with his selection during the new season.

"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.

"I played with [Nemanja] Vidic for six years with no fitness problems between us. I woke up on a Saturday knowing that Vida was going to be fit and he was the same with me. At the moment, these guys aren't doing that. They don't know if Chris Smalling is going to be fit, if Phil Jones, Jonny Evans or Marcos Rojo are going to be fit. So how can you start to build relationships? That's been part of the problem for Van Gaal."