Arsenal should sign Manchester City star as Sagna replacement

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Manchester City right-back Micah Richards would be the perfect replacement for contract rebel Bacary Sagna at Arsenal this summer.

The 25-year-old defender has struggled to hold down a regular place in Manuel Pellegrini's side this season, having been ousted from the starting spot by the increasingly impressive Pablo Zabaleta, and so would be open to the prospect of a new challenge elsewhere.

Richards is at an age where he needs to be playing week-in week-out, and might be forced to leave the Etihad Stadium in order to achieve that, particularly if he harbours ambitions of returning to the England national team fold in the future.

Arsenal would represent an ideal environment for the full-back to thrive in, becoming a mainstay in Arsene Wenger's defence on the opposite flank to fellow English youngster Kieran Gibbs.

A move to the Emirates Stadium would also see Richards join up with the likes of Theo Walcott, Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, all Three Lions stars that the Manchester City graduate can aspire to emulate.

If, as expected, France international Sagna departs north London upon the expiry of his contract at the end of the season, Arsenal should move quickly to snap up Richards, who also looks set to leave Manchester City in the summer, after turning down the offer of a new five-year contract with his boyhood club, according to the Daily Mail.

Richards remains under contract until 2015, but City chiefs would prefer to sell him this summer, rather than lose the player on a Bosman free 12 months later. Either way, Arsenal should be able to negotiate a cut-price deal, given the current stand-off.

With Carl Jenkinson currently in reserve, it's not like the Gunners would become completely exposed on the right side of defence should Sagna choose to move on, but there are some question marks over the former Charlton Athletic scholar's ability to play comfortably at the very top level.

Richards would be a much more reliable option to have, and his versatility could also prove important, with the Manchester City ace also able to operate in central defence, providing cover for the likes of Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker at the heart of Arsenal's back-line.

Much was expected of Richards when he first broke through at Manchester City as an exciting young 17-year-old, but injuries have hampered his development in the past couple of seasons, as has the constantly evolving first-team squad, with more and more quality seemingly added each year.

The defender has managed just two Premier League appearances for Pellegrini's side in 2013/14, and the time has come for him to look for pastures new, with Arsenal exactly the sort of club Richards should look to be joining. 

Liverpool have also been mooted as admirers of the Manchester City outcast, with Brendan Rodgers reportedly trying to lure Richards to Anfield on loan in the January window. And whilst some might argue that a Merseyside move would present an exciting challenge, the presence of Glen Johnson means that he would still be regarded as a back-up in the Reds squad.

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Manchester City
Bacary Sagna
Micah Richards
Premier League

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