Ahead of the new season, Rio Ferdinand believes it would take more than the arrival of a top class defender to break the negativity and gloom that manager Jose Mourinho has cast over the club.

According to Mirror, he doesn’t see Manchester United finishing ahead of Manchester City and Liverpool, its two eternal rivals and that is worrisome.

“There seems to be a lot of negativity around United at the moment, and that doesn’t bode well.

“The manager is obviously not happy about the signings he hasn’t been able to make and not having certain players available on their pre-season tour, which isn’t nice to hear if you are a young kid trying to make your mark on the fringes of the squad.

“He seems to have put a nail in that coffin with the way he has spoken.

“And then there has been the saga of Anthony Martial going home from the tour in America and not coming back.

“In the meantime, Manchester City look stronger than ever and Liverpool have improved again.

“They have brought in a £60 million goalkeeper, I think Naby Keita will make a great impact, we know of Xherdan Shaqiri’s quality, and they have added Fabinho to the mix as well.

“I’m a United fan, and I want to see them win the title, but I fear it’s going to be very difficult for that to happen this season.

“I can’t see past City and Liverpool as the top two — and to say that about the two clubs who wouldn’t be top of any United fan’s Christmas card list is horrendous.”

As the transfer window draws closer to its deadline, Ferdinand also took time to make his choice as to which defender Manchester United should sign.

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He said: “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.

“He’s got to get Paul Pogba to play for United the way he did for France at the World Cup. Some of that is down to Pogba himself, but Mourinho must give him the confidence to express himself and give him a platform to dominate.

“Then there is the conundrum of getting the best out of United’s forwards. Alexis Sanchez has been a shadow of the player he was at Arsenal, but he has had the summer off and he’s had time to bed in.

“In the season he arrived at Old Trafford, there was an argument for saying Martial was the most exciting teenager in world football, but he is going backwards. And you sense this is also a big year for Marcus Rashford.

“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.

“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.

Another United Legend Paul Ince has echoed Ferdinand’s thoughts by asking Jose to tune down the negativity.

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“You don’t want to see all this negativity. It’s the start of the season, it’s supposed to be an exciting time.” He said.

“The fans want to see a different Manchester United, a more attacking one which we didn’t see last season.

“He [Mourinho] should be talking about the players coming to Old Trafford, how he’s changed the style and how it’s going to be exhilarating.

“But we’re less than a week away from the start of the season it’s doom and gloom. Bad signals are coming out of Manchester United, it’s not good and I just don’t see any positivity there.”