In a week where England are forced into playing a make-shift right back in a vital qualifier, it’s perhaps more than a little ironic that a player who used to be regularly considered for that spot may be close to making a move.
It’s been a really testing couple of years for Manchester City and England defender Micah Richards.
He not only lost his place at right-back to Pablo Zabaleta at the Etihad during City’s title-winning campaign, but fell out of international reckoning too, before having his season decimated by injury in 2012/13.
A knee problem requiring surgery reduced Richards to making just seven Premier League appearances last season, but although the right-back has been fully fit since mid-September, new City boss Manuel Pellegrini is yet to give him a single Premier League minute.
Like Mancini before him, the Chilean has Zabaleta nailed on to start at right-back in the league, but now it seems Newcastle boss Alan Pardew is ready to throw him a lifeline.
Rumours are circulating that the Magpies manager is a big admirer of the roving right-back and is prepared to table a sizeable offer for his services come January.
And while French international Mathieu Debuchy was brought in after a long courtship in the summer to play there, his performances have fallen way short of those witnessed in Euro 2012, which first alerted Newcastle’s manager to try and sign him.
Therefore, Pardew is extremely keen to bring in competition for Debuchy and Richards fits the bill perfectly, as the he attempts to guide Newcastle towards a top-10 finish in the Premier League – rated at 17/10 by Ladbrokes.
The possibility of Pellegrini letting Richards go in January is lent further credibility by the fact England U-20 right-back Reece Wabara is to be recalled to the City first-team squad the same month, after impressing on loan at Doncaster.
In a World Cup year, a ticket out of Manchester may well be Richards’ best option.
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