The former Manchester City ace, who won a Premier League title and a League Cup during his ten seasons in the City first-team, only moved to Villa Park last summer on a free transfer.
However, the former England international endured a tough debut season with the Villains, captaining them to their first ever relegation from the Premier League and making 24 top flight appearances in the process.
But The Telegraph reported earlier this month that Sunderland are ready to give the 28-year-old another chance in the Premier League.
And The Daily Star claim the Black Cats are now set to activate Richards’ £5million release clause following the appointment of David Moyes, who was announced as Sam Allardyce’s successor on Friday.
It’s claimed former Newcastle winger Charles N’Zogbia has extended his trial at the Stadium of Light in the hope of earning a long-term contract.