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Chelsea to snap up in-demand Man City defender Micah Richards?

Chelsea, 7/1 to win the Champions League with Coral, could swoop for Manchester City defender Micah Richards, as his current deal with the Citizens is set to expire in summer.

Birmingham-born Richards has previously rejected offers from the Sky Blues to renew his contract, and was tipped to join Tottenham before opting to escape to Fiorentina on loan to gain further playing time.

Able to operate as a right back or centre half, the adaptable City academy graduate slipped down the Etihad pecking order as Pablo Zabaleta rose to prominence as a first choice full back.

With his once promising club career stalled, rapid Richards also fell out of favour with the England squad, despite being the youngest ever defender to debut for the Three Lions.

A fast and physical presence, Richards is perhaps better suited to the Premier League than the tactical nature of Serie A, where he has made just three appearances for Viola so far.

With his Italian adventure set to end in summer, Richards appears to have many options to mull over, with Chelsea believed to be leading the chase for his services ahead of Liverpool and Inter Milan.

The former Three Lions full back is said to prefer a move back to British shores instead of reuniting with ex-City boss Roberto Mancini at the San Siro, where the Nerazzurri coach is aiming to reinforce his lacklustre rearguard.

Jose Mourinho has reportedly shown an interest in Richards before, with the fleet-footed right back rumoured to have been on the radar of the ‘Special One’ in his first stint at Stamford Bridge and later again at Real Madrid.

However, with the Blues currently well-stocked at the back, Richards may resist the lure of joint league leaders Chelsea to avoid becoming a squad player once again.

Liverpool could also be an alternative option, with Brendan Rodgers supposedly seeking to replace Glen Johnson, who could also be a free agent at the end of this season, whilst Spurs may also still be in the reckoning.

Right back has been a problem position for Mauricio Pochettino this term, with Eric Dier frequently playing out of position to cover for injured and out-of-form Kyle Walker.

If Richards decides to switch allegiances to another Premier League contender, it could pose problems for City, who are 7/4 to win the Premier League title.

The Sky Blues must keep their homegrown quota in mind, with Richards’ compatriot Gareth Barry having already exited the Etihad on a free transfer, and James Milner and Scott Sinclair also appearing to be seeking pastures new.