Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has urged his former club to back the manager and sign Jose Mourinho’s number one target.

While names like Jerome Boateng, Harry Maguire and Yerry Mina have all been linked with a move to Old Trafford, it has been clear since last season that Mourinho’s preference would be Toby Alderweireld.

And Ferdinand has come out in strong defence of Mourinho, saying he not only feels he has identified the right man, but that the Spurs player suits United’s style.

“Harry Maguire did great at the World Cup, but of the players potentially available he would not be my first choice,” Ferdinand told The Mirror.“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.”

United are rumoured to have made a breakthrough with Spurs in recent days, with the London club seeking to bring in a replacement for the Belgian before making news of the agreement official.