Chelsea plan free transfer offer for Micah Richards

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Chelsea are weighing up an offer to sign former-Manchester City defender Micah Richards, who will be available on a free transfer at the end of the season.

According to The Guardian, the 26-year-old England international is considering a return to the Premier League after a year on loan in Serie A, and Chelsea and Liverpool are the frontrunners to sign him.

His Manchester City contract runs out this summer, and from the beginning of January he is free to sign a pre-contract agreement with foreign clubs. That gives Fiorentina and Inter Milan the upper hand.

Fiorentina are keen for him to stay, and he's been offered a contract by the Florence-based club.

It's thought he will not stay at the Etihad Stadium, having turned down the opportunity twice to extend his contract with the reigning Premier League champions.

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Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho is reportedly a big fan of the versatile defender. He attempted to bring him to Chelsea during his first stint at Stamford Bridge, and again tried to sign him when Mourinho was manager of Real Madrid.

It's believed he sees Richards as the ideal back-up option heading into next season, as John Terry approaches retirement and with Kurt Zouma not quite at the level to replace him permanently.

Reunion with Mancini?

Former-Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini is also monitoring developments, having worked with Richards previously. Now managing Inter Milan, he would be prepared to give Richards the chance to stay in Italy.

And finally there's Liverpool, with the Reds expected to be in the market for a right-back this summer as Glen Johnson looks set to leave the club at the end of the season.

Johnson is out of contract, and his wage demands are thought to be too excessive for the Reds to re-sign him.

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