Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has been backed to sign Inter Milan star Mauro Icardi by former Red Devils defender Nemanja Vidic.

The Serbian left Old Trafford and made a switch to the San Siro as a free agent in 2014. He played alongside the Argentine international at Inter for close to two seasons before retiring from professional football in January 2016.

Real Madrid have long been linked with a move for the forward. The Italian club's manager Jorge Sampaoli even revealed the player was "tempted" to join the Champions League winners after confirming the La Liga side are monitoring the attacker.

The Daily Mail claims the 20-time champions of England and Real have shown interest in signing the striker. Vidic is confident that Icardi can "improve the Premier League", if he leaves Inter and makes a switch to United.

"He's [Icardi] a good player who scores goals, so all teams are showing an interest in him. [But] not every player fits in every team. Mourinho is a top manager because he understands that," Vidic was quoted as saying by

"So Icardi's signing will depend on what sort of football Mourinho wants to play next season. Icardi is someone who can improve the Premier League, challenge himself there."

Icardi has been in fine form for the Serie A outfit this season, scoring 18 goals and registering an assist in 22 league matches. His form for Inter has seen him attract interest from top clubs across Europe.

Meanwhile, Vidic's another former teammate Chris Smalling has been subjected to heavy criticism for his display in United's defeat to Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United.

He says the England international has improved over the years and suggested that Smalling will be respected if he wins silverware with United.

"It hasn't been easy for him. He moved from Fulham. [He played] three different styles of football under [David] Moyes, [Louis] Van Gaal, [Jose] Mourinho. He's improved. They will have more respect if United wins trophies," the former United centre-back said about Smalling.

"It's difficult to switch from playing the ball out from the back to being a big and strong defender. It's tougher now. Chris Smalling has to adapt. It would have been difficult for me, Rio [Ferdinand] or any other player."

Mauro Icardi
Mauro Icardi has been linked with a move to Real Madrid and Manchester United Getty