Liverpool get green light in summer swoop for Man City’s Micah Richards
Liverpool are eyeing Manchester City and England defender Micah Richards after he was told by Sky Blues manager Manuel Pellegrini he is free to leave in the summer.
It has been yet another frustrating campaign for the 25-year-old as injuries have once again seen Richards struggle to oust Pablo Zabaleta from City’s right back berth. He has played just nine times in all competitions this term.
Brendan Rodgers’ Reds took full advantage of City contesting and winning the Capital One Cup final as his team climbed above them in the Premier League table by beating Southampton. Merseyside outfit Liverpool are now 11/2 with Coral to win the title, behind City at 13/10 and 5/4 favourites Chelsea.
Etihad academy product Richards, who can also play at centre half, was offered a new contract by Pellegrini, but it is rumoured to have involved a pay-cut and he turned it down.
As his current contract with City expires in 2015, it is now likely they will sell him this summer rather than risk losing Rixchards for nothing next year.
Rodgers has used three different players at right back this season because of injury to first-choice Glen Johnson. Like Richards, the former Chelsea and Portsmouth defender is out of contract in 2015.
Johnson also turns 30 in August, and Anfield graduates Martin Kelly and young Jon Flanagan lack substantial experience.
Liverpool were linked with a move for Richards in the January transfer window, but it never materialised. They may face competition from Newcastle United for his signature as Toon right back Mathieu Debuchy is rumoured to be a target for French Ligue 1 leaders PSG.
Tabloid reports claiming Barcelona may be prepared to sell Brazil wingback Dani Alves this summer – yet another player whose club contract expires in 2015 – could also hasten Richards’ exit from the Etihad. City have shown interest in the attack-minded Alves before, but would battle Arsenal and Chelsea to land him.
The Reds were set to tackle Sunderland next, but that Premier League match has had to be rearranged because the Black Cats are in FA Cup quarter-final action instead. Liverpool must now prepare to face bitter rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford on March 16th.
Injuries and a lack of game time have meant Richards has completely dropped off the England radar ahead of the World Cup.
He has never played for the Three Lions under Roy Hodgson but, following recent spells on the sidelines for Johnson and understudy Kyle Walker, you can back Richards as a 12/1 outsider to make the squad for Brazil.