Liverpool Transfer News: Micah Richards Becomes Viable Summer Target

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 19:  Micah Richards of Manchester City in action during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Manchester City at Boleyn Ground on October 19, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)
Warren Little/Getty Images

Manchester City right-back Micah Richards is emerging as a summer prospect for Liverpool after the out-of-favour defender refused to sign a new contract at the Etihad.

As reported by Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail, Richards is ready to move on after suffering limited first-team chances under Manuel Pellegrini:

Manchester City will look to sell Micah Richards in the summer after the defender told the club he will not sign a new contract.

The right-back has been offered a new five-year deal, but he has told City chiefs he is unwilling, as it stands, to put pen to paper.

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 10: Micah Richards of Manchester City is challenged by Phillip Bardsley of Sunderland during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Manchester City at the Stadium of Light on November 10, 2013 in Sunderland
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Richards has made just five starts across the Premier League and Champions League this season, per Although regular injury problems have hampered the Englishman's chances of maintaining his place in Pellegrini's starting lineup, he is unlikely to displace the ever-reliable Pablo Zabaleta from his almost guaranteed spot in defence.

Unfortunately for Richards, he has become a squad player at an elite club.

He isn't the first—look at Adam Johnson's move to Sunderland and Gareth Barry's current loan with Everton—nor will he be the last. Even so, the 25-year-old's career is put into perspective during this World Cup year, a tournament he is barely being considered for by England boss Roy Hodgson.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 02: Manuel Pellegrini, manager of Manchester City celebrates victory with the trophy after the Capital One Cup Final between Manchester City and Sunderland at Wembley Stadium on March 2, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Michael
Michael Regan/Getty Images

A previous Mokbel report highlighted Liverpool's attempts to secure a loan deal for the City defender, but the Etihad club rejected Brendan Rodgers' advances. Richards confirmed he would monitor how many games he plays across the remainder of the season back in December, suggesting he may be forced to leave, reported by the Sunday Mirror and via Sky Sports:

My contract is up at the end of next season and, although I've already spoken to City and know that they are happy to extend my deal, I've told them I want to see how many games I play this season.

I don't ever want to leave Manchester City, with the way it's going. But it's one of those where I will have to look at my career and say, 'Are you playing enough?'

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 27:   Micah Richards of Manchester City is stretchered off with an injury during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Swansea City at the Etihad Stadium on October 27, 2012 in Manchester, England.  (P
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Mokbel's report suggests City would rather offload the player during the summer than lose him on a free at the end of the 2014-15 season, a straightforward decision considering FIFA's Financial Fair Play rules are in effect.

Richards' last two appearances have come in FA Cup matches against Blackburn and Watford, both games he failed to complete 90 minutes in, per He last stepped onto a Premier League pitch in November 2013, lasting 71 minutes during the 1-0 loss to Sunderland.

The unwanted player would galvanise Liverpool's squad and certainly adheres to the criteria Rodgers looks for in his defenders. Richards is tall, athletic, powerful and pacey, much like Mamadou Sakho and Aly Cissokho. He can also be deployed in a centre-back role and would allow the Reds boss greater freedom when rotating his team.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 23:  Jon Flanagan of Liverpool battles with Wayne Routledge of Swansea City during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Swansea City at Anfield on February 23, 2014 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive B
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Jon Flanagan has emerged as an able right-back deputy to Glen Johnson this campaign, so Richards' ability to play in multiple positions may aid his quest to find extended game time if an Anfield move goes ahead.

Richards' potential transfer would be beneficial for all involved. Not only would Liverpool acquire an experienced Premier League defender, the player would gain more game time and City would receive funds for his departure.

Although Rodgers needs to reconfirm his interest with a summer bid, a transfer appears to make real sense.