Despite being heavily linked with a move to Wearside all week, Micah Richards' rumoured move to Sunderland now looks unlikely.
Stories linking Richards to David Moyes' Premier League side have been picking up traction all week, with the Birmingham Mail reporting on it yesterday. This came after the Daily Star claimed that Sunderland were set to activate Richards' £5 million release clause.
However, this all now looks unlikely, at least according to this Tweet from The Daily Mail's Craig Hope:
I understand Aston Villa's Micah Richards will NOT be signing for Sunderland and there never has been a deal in place.— Craig Hope (@CraigHope_DM) July 26, 2016
Of course, this isn't concrete proof, and the Mail aren't always the most reliable source. But for Craig Hope to go on record and reject the rumour so decisively, it seems pretty likely that Micah Richards will not be going to Sunderland.
It doesn't mean that Micah Richards won't be leaving Aston Villa this summer, it just means that in all likelihood, it won't be to Sunderland. It is also worth noting that a £5 million fee is quite high for a player who was pretty abject last season. If Villa really do want to ditch him, then I expect that they might accept a bid lower than the release clause.
At the end of the day, the joke is on Sunderland. They look set to sign Villa flop Charles N'Zogbia.