According to the Daily Mail, Newcastle are preparing a January move for Manchester City full back Micah Richards. Magpies manager Alan Pardew is reportedly a long-term admirer of the English right-back, who is yet to accept a new contract offer at the Etihad.
Richards has so far struggled to break into Manuel Pellegrini’s team, with just two appearances to his name this season, he is yet to feature in the Premier League for the Manchester club. The 25-year-old will need to be playing regular first-team football to give him a chance of breaking into Roy Hodgson’s England squad and he may look for a move away from the Etihad to achieve this.
It’s fair to say since Richards made his England debut in 2006, as the Three Lions’ youngest ever defender, his career has stagnated slightly. But this is partly due to injury and a slight lack of playing time rather than just poor performances. A move to Newcastle, or at least a move away from Manchester City, would hugely benefit his career.
Richards missed the majority of last season through injury. However, when fit he made seven appearances, playing a role in five clean sheets. Defensively he was solid, recording an average of nine actions a match (resulting in a total 41 clearances, 14 interceptions and five blocks) and tackle success rate of 91%. Not bad for a player who scarcely plays first-team football.
He doesn’t quite offer the same ability going forward as Pablo Zabaleta, this is a key reason the Argentine is favoured ahead of Richards at Manchester City.
Should Richards make the move to St James’ Park he would be the perfect competition for French right-back Mathieu Debuchy, who has yet to fully convince in Newcastle colours. While Newcastle might be considered a step down for the defender, regular minutes under his belt would not be hard to come by.
Debuchy has performed well on occasion for Newcastle so far this season while the team on the whole has toiled. Currently the Frenchman’s greatest contribution has been going forward. Seven created chances and a assist aren’t numbers usually associated with a full-back. Richards could possibly offer better defensive assurance for Alan Pardew’s vulnerable backline.
Although Richards is currently content competing for a first-team place at Manchester City, a move to Newcastle would be beneficial would benefit both parties. If the club can strike a deal over his reported £65,000-a-week wages, Richards could be joining the Toon army as early as January.