Liverpool plot cut price deal for Micah Richards

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Brendan Rodgers has placed Liverpool in pole position to land Micah RIchards as Man City prepare to sell the defender, reports the Daily Mirror.

Manuel Pellegrini is happy to let the RIchards leave the Etihad after Bacary Sagna arrive on a free transfer from rivals Arsenal. Sagna, who will act as understudy to Pablo Zabaleta as well as a fourth choice centre-back, means Richards is now surplus to requirements.

With Financial Fair Play coming down hard on Man City, they are actively trying to trim the squad in order to cut the wage bill. Gareth Barry and Joleon Lescott have already left and it appears Richards is next out of the door.

Lack of experience

The 26-year-old has the same versatility in his game as Sagna, but not nearly as much experience. He has struggled to develop sufficiently with the Citizens, which can partly be attributed to Man City's excessive spending.

As a result Richards has not played as many games as most of his peers at a similar age. All-in-all, Richards has started 228 games for Man City despite emerging on the scene as an 18-year-old. In the last two seasons he has started a total of nine Premier League games - a dismal total.

Liverpool favourites

Despite his last of action, Rodgers is still keen to bring Richards to Anfield where he can compete for a first team place with Glen Johnson as well as cover for the centre-backs.

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With just 12 months left on his contract, Liverpool believe Man City will be willing to sell the 13-time England international for a cut price fee. That is in spite of the fact that Pellegrini is struggling to get enough homegrown players together for his Champions League squad.

Rodgers has plenty of money available having sold Luis Suarez, and is still keen to strengthen every area of his Liverpool squad before they make their Champions League return next season.

Arsenal remain interest

Liverpool should stay wary, however, as Arsene Wenger remains interested in the defender and is keeping an eye on developments. The Arsenal manager has held a long-term interest in Richard and, having lost Sagna to City this summer, is considering a bid to take him off Liverpool's hands.

For Wenger it appears his priorities lie with Newcastle's Mathieu Debuchy, who is expected to join in the very near future - possibly as early as Thursday. If Debuchy signs, there would still be space in Wenger's squad for Richards although it would most probably come at the expense of Carl Jenkinson.

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