The thing that is most shocking is that we’re at this stage of the transfer window – a little over a week left before the deadline – and Micah Richards is still wandering the halls of the Etihad Stadium.
The defender’s future with Manchester City was confirmed well before the start of this summer’s window: the former England international has only made nine Premier League appearances over the last two years, and following the signings of Bacary Sagna and Eliaquim Mangala over the summer, Richards has little backing him to push for a return to the first team.
Like Jack Rodwell, who has moved on permanently to Sunderland, this summer was about starting a fresh for Richards – and he hasn’t been short of potential suitors, if reports are to be believed.
The latest clubs to be linked with a move for the versatile defender are West Ham and Newcastle, though Liverpool were previously mentioned, as well as Arsenal. Needless to say, someone of Richards’ experience in the Premier League would go a long way to helping both West Ham, who are light of numbers at the back, and Newcastle, who recently sold Mathieu Debuchy to Arsenal.
What is most important is that Richards lands at a club willing to invest faith in him. After such a prolonged spell away from regular first-team football, there can be no guarantees. But Richards is far from Manuel Pellegrini’s thoughts at this time, and a bargain fee is likely to be attached to him ahead of a sale.
Having already signed Daryl Janmaat from Feyenoord to replace the departed Debuchy, Newcastle’s need for Richards won’t be as pressing as West Ham’s, however the former England international is more than capable of being a regular at centre-back.
Sam Allardyce doesn’t have that level of quality at right-back, having recently loaned Carl Jenkinson from Arsenal. Someone of the experience of Richards would be a boost to the Hammers’ back line, which produced plenty of positive displays last season. In addition, the rumours linking Winston Reid with a move to Arsenal would necessitate the signing of another centre-back.
West Ham may be wary of another injury prone addition, having suffered multiple times in the past and now most recently with Andy Carroll. But the club have already taken a hit on the fitness front, with James Tomkins and Jenkinson suffering hamstring injuries. Richards’ history may not be spotless, but if he can prove to have escaped the problems that played a hand in his decline at Manchester City, he’ll be a shrewd signing for Sam Allardyce.
The club are said to be in advanced negotiations with City, and ahead of Newcastle, West Ham would prove to be the best destination for a player desperately in need of a change of scenery and a restart to his flagging career.