Manchester City defender Micah Richards has revealed that he could have previously joined either of Manchester United or Chelsea.
As reported by the Telegraph, Richards, who is currently out on loan at Serie A outfit Fiorentina, has insisted that a move away from City didn't feel right, and believes that he would now be the club's captain if they hadn't been taken over.
Ultimately, Richards now looks set to leave the Etihad on a permanent basis after admitting that he rejected the chance to sign a new deal with the club last summer.
Richards told the Telegraph: “If we didn’t get the investment we did, I’d probably be captain now.
“I probably wouldn’t have left. I had a chance to go to Chelsea five years ago, and Manchester United. But I didn’t feel it was right.
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"I always enjoyed City. They gave me a chance at such a young age . I’ve been a bit unfortunate because whenever I picked up some form I got a niggling injury. With City, if you get an injury you can find yourself out of the team for months.
“I’ve got no hard feelings to ‘Zaba’ because he didn’t come as a big name. He’s grafted his socks off, and done really well. There are no hard feelings towards Pellegrini. He seems like a really nice guy. It was tough for Pellegrini to give me a chance because of the form of ‘Zaba’. I spoke to Txiki [Begiristain, City’s director of football] last season and he said: ‘Do you want to sign a new deal?’ I got offered four years. ‘Well, it depends on how much I play,’ I said."
Over at City
And Richards has insisted that his failure to land a Premier League medal after making just four Premier League appearances for the club last term made his mind up that it was time to move on.
However, he has insisted that he would back himself to get ahead of Bacray Sagna in the pecking order at the club, but it now seems extremely unlikely that he will go head-to-head with the Frenchman for a place in the team anytime soon.
He continued by saying: “The nail in the coffin was not getting the Premier League medal. I made only four appearances in the league. I can play centre half as well, and wasn’t even considered in that position. Javi Garcia, a central midfielder, was going in at centre half. People were asking for tickets – and I was not even in the squad. I couldn’t come to terms with it.
“So I said to Txiki: ‘I’m not going to sign.’ He said: ‘Well, all right, cool, we’ve got to move quickly, we’ve got to get a right back.’ Bacary Sagna is a proven Premier League and Champions League right back. I don’t think it was a bad move. They got him on a free contract. I’d have backed myself to get ahead of Sagna. I know how good I am as a player."
Richards, then, will currently be focusing on tonight's Europa League showdown as his Fiorentina side take on Tottenham at White Hart Lane. There's no doubt about it, the game should prove quite the clash as Richards looks to show his ability back on English soil.
Time to prove himself
There's no doubt about it, the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea won't be completely devastated that they missed out on the player's signature as he's struggling to live up to his early hype.
However, if Richards returns to England this summer, then it's time for him to produce the goods before it's too late. At 26, Richards is certainly no youngster anymore, so will be determined to get his career back on track, and he must do that.
Manchester City fans: Will you be sad to see Richards leave? Manchester United and Chelsea fans: Are you pleased that you missed out on the Richards signing? Have your say in the comments section below!