Leeds United have been dealt a huge blow in their bid to bring Chris Richards to Elland Road this summer.
In a recent post on Twitter, Florian Plettenberg revealed that, despite Victor Orta being heavily linked with a move for the Bayern Munich centre-back in recent weeks, Crystal Palace have now reached a verbal agreement with the 22-year-old ahead of a potential switch to Selhurst Park this summer.
The Sky Sports Deutschland journalist continued to state that negotiations between the Premier League and Bundesliga clubs are ongoing regarding a fee for the USA international – with the German champions believed to be willing to cash in on the defender for a figure in the region of €15m (£13m).
In his tweet, Plettenberg said: “News Chris Richards: He has a verbal agreement with Crystal Palace. The Bayern defender wants to join them. Now the clubs has to find an agreement. Negotiations ongoing.”
Considering just how promising a centre-back Richards looks to be, Plettenberg’s claim that Palace now look to be closing in on a deal for the 22-year-old is sure to have left Orta livid.
Indeed, according to FBref, the £6.75m-rated talent ranks in the top 1% of centre-backs in Europe’s big five leagues and European competitions for blocks per 90, as well as the top 2% for aerial duels won, the top 17% for pressures, the top 18% for interceptions and the top 28% for tackles over the last 365 days.
The £13k-per-week defender also impresses going forwards, ranking in the top 6% for non-penalty xG per 90, in addition to the top 6% for assists, the top 20% for shots, the top 18% for progressive passes, the top 16% for passes attempted, the top 27% for non-penalty goals and the top 15% for touches in the opposition penalty area over the past 12 months.
As such, despite having made just ten senior appearances for Bayern since his 2019 move from FC Dallas, it is nevertheless clear to see that Richards is an exceptionally talented defender – leading us to believe that the Whites missing out on a deal for the 22-year-old will come as a gutting blow to both Orta and Jesse Marsch, especially as the American appeared to be available for as little as £13m.