Following the imminent departure of French right-back Mathieu Debuchy to Arsenal, Newcastle United have been linked with a cut-price deal for Manchester City’s Micah Richards.
The 26-year-old right-back has told Manuel Pellegrini that he will not be signing a contract renewal, once his current deal expires in the summer of 2015. A decision which has led City towards cashing in on Richards this summer.
After a string of injury setbacks, Richards has made just 18 appearances during the last two seasons at City. The consistent injury problems have led Richards to be offered moves to West Ham, Spurs and Liverpool. A stark contrast to the end of the 2011/12 season when Chelsea and Real Madrid were quoted a £20 million fee to secure Richards’ signature.
Nevertheless, Newcastle are the bookies favourites, as they desperately require coverage with Debuchy joining Arsenal. Their current cover includes a fit-again Ryan Taylor, who has not played competitive football since tearing the cruciate ligament in his right knee against Atromitos in August 2012, which leaves Alan Pardew reluctant to rely upon him for an entire season.
Other options include Davide Santon and Vurnon Anita, although none of them are specialist right-backs. Aside from Richards, the Magpies have already tabled a bid of £5 million for Feyenoord right-back Daryl Janmaat. However, Feyenoord believe that the Dutch international is worth at least £6 million. Furthermore, the Magpies are in contention to sign Toulouse right-back Serge Aurier or Ajax’s Ricardo van Rhijn.
Consequently, Richards will probably face competition before he even arrives at St.James Park.
As reported in Chronicle Live, Richards stated: “I'll take the summer to think over things. I've been here 11 years, I've enjoyed every minute. I don't know what the future holds – we'll see.”
Richards’ reluctance to decide his future will see Newcastle aim to force through a separate deal, prior to their pre-season work in New Zealand next week. Although Pardew will certainly keep tabs on the versatile Richards, who can also play centre-back. It is no secret, that the Magpies haven’t been blessed with consistently great central-defenders for nearly a decade, ever since the departure of Jonathan Woodgate.
Consequently, Newcastle are crying out for a centre-back in the mould of Richards. He’s built like a brick wall, quick and willing to clatter anyone who gets past him. Evidently, it is clear that Richards has all of the ingredients to become a Geordie hero.
His dynamic style and presence will leave Newcastle fans in awe and full of confidence, rather than in fear of getting demolished throughout the upcoming season.
To conclude, Richards is the perfect player for Newcastle, as he will have a point to prove after two successive disappointing years at City. As Newcastle’s probable star defender, it is also probable that we would see Richards re-establish himself in the England squad. For the sake of Newcastle supporters, hopefully they sign Richards before Spurs or Liverpool snatch him from under their noses.
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