According to The Sun, Micah Richards is set to be released by Aston Villa having not made a senior appearance for the club in 667 days.
Since becoming England’s youngest ever defender when he made his debut for the Three Lions in 2006 at the age of 18, much has changed for Richards.
The powerful full-back was once one of the most exciting young prospects in Britain and played a key role in Roberto Mancini’s Premier League title winning Manchester City side of the 2011/12 season.
Injuries have subsequently ravaged the Birmingham-born defender’s career though. In the seven full campaigns since that title triumph, Richards has managed just 69 senior appearances in all competitions across his time with Man City, Aston Villa and Fiorentina.
At the age of 30, and having not played a minute of professional football in nearly two years, Richards’ career is all but over.
Any club would be brave to take a punt on the former England international now, but Villa’s big rivals, Birmingham City, ought to consider it.
It has been a hugely frustrating summer at St Andrew’s. A transfer embargo has prevented much meaningful business from being done, leaving Garry Monk’s squad looking unimproved since last season, when they only just managed to secure Championship survival.
Richards, given his physical decline, is unlikely to be able to have an impact for the Blues. However, by offering the soon-to-be free agent a pay-as-you-play deal, they can afford him the opportunity to revive his career at no real risk to themselves.
In the unlikely circumstance that Richards can return himself to match fitness, and rediscover a little of his previous form, he could prove a savvy free acquisition by the club.
With Birmingham City in dire straits as it is, a punt on Richards is worth a roll of the dice as it could pay dividends and can’t really damage the club either.