Micah Richards on the move, with Spurs and Saints among suitors?
The signing of Bacary Sagna by Manchester City looks to have put the nail in Micah Richards’ coffin. His career at the Etihad has stalled and several Premier League clubs are tracking his signature, according to the weekend tabloids.
Chief among those top-flight teams that reportedly want to give Richards the chance to rebuild his career are Southampton and Tottenham. Saints boss Ronald Koeman, 6/4 to steer the south coast side to a top 10 finish, will need to replace talented teenager Luke Chambers, who is on the verge of joining Arsenal for £16m.
Richards can play at centre half as well as right back because of athleticism and size, so could go some way to covering the exit of Dejan Lovren, a £20m target for Liverpool that should sign for Brendan Rodgers’ Reds this week.
Southampton’s Dutch coach Koeman is also after compatriots Ron Vlaar, the Aston Villa captain, and highly-rated Celtic centre back Virgil van Dijk, however. Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino, 10/3 to crash the top four, meanwhile, is looking to create competition for places at White Hart Lane.
First-choice right back Kyle Walker struggled with niggling injuries towards the back end of last season, and understudy Kyle Naughton attracted widespread criticism for poor displays. Richards would be running Walker close at Tottenham, though supported north London neighbours Arsenal growing up.
Everton, 13/2 for a top four finish, are also keeping tabs on the City player, because Seamus Coleman is set to miss the start of the season with a hamstring problem. Long-serving club stalwart Tony Hibbert is Toffees boss Roberto Martinez’s reserve in this position, and signed a new two-year contract earlier in July.
A move to either Goodison Park or Merseyside rivals Liverpool, 10/1 Premier League title chances, looks unlikely for Richards, because the Reds are also well-covered in that area. Although Rodgers has loaned Andre Wisdom out to West Bromwich Albion, he still has Glen Johnson, plus academy products Jon Flanagan and Martin Kelly, that can play right back at Anfield.
How Richards revives his career, then, looks difficult, but it would definitely be in his interests to leave City this summer, as he is behind both Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta in Manuel Pellegrini’s pecking order. The Etihad outfit are 12/5 second-favourites to retain the Premier League title.