Crystal Palace have been handed a major transfer boost in their pursuit of Reading defender Omar Richards if recent reports are to be believed.
Reports in recent times revealed that Palace were one of several Premier League clubs who were interested in signing Richards in January.
According to The Reading Chronicle, the Royals are ready to balance their books to bring the club in line with Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations.
It’s claimed that discussions are currently ongoing between the club and the young left-back over a “bumper new contract” but they could be forced to put him up for sale in the New Year.
Richards has been in such fine form for the Royals so far this season, it’s no wonder Palace and the Hammers have shown an interest – with the latter inquiring about his availability.
In 15 appearances in the Championship this season, the 22-year-old versatile player, who can play at the back or in the midfield, is averaging 2.5 tackles, 1.5 interceptions and 1.6 clearances per game, via WhoScored.
If Richards does indeed reject whatever offer is thrown his way, then Steve Parish must be prepared to swoop in for a cut-price deal next month.
Roy Hodgson currently has a couple of options in his position with Patrick van Aanholt and Tyrick Mitchell vying for a place in the starting line-up. Joel Ward can also be called into action as well.
Former Reading boss Mark Bowen once described Richards as an “outstanding” talent, saying “everyone knows he’s good going forward, but defensively he went in and won tackles he wasn’t favourite to win.”
The England U21 international is out of contract in the summer, which means he may not cost Parish a penny if he runs down his deal at the Madejski Stadium.
With Van Aanholt angling for a move, Richards may be the perfect ready-made replacement to fill his boots if he departs Selhurst Park.
AND in other news, Time to shine: Crystal Palace boss Roy Hodgson must put faith in Jeffrey Schlupp…