If bookmakers are to be believed, Manchester City and England defender Micah Richards looks to be headed to Aston Villa on a free transfer. Sky Bet have suspended betting on the move after odds had been 10/1 at one point. The 26-year-old Richards could slot in at both centre- and right-back positions, and could provide some much-needed depth for Aston Villa.
Richards was once a promising young star who has seen his career stagnate. He spent this last season on loan at Fiorentina, but only made ten appearances. But the lack of playing time shouldn't necessarily be something to frighten off Villa. Richards is only 26 and we've already seen Tim Sherwood get great results from Tom Cleverley and Scott Sinclair, two players who similarly looked like promising prospects at the club and international level and who similarly couldn't get playing time.
For a free transfer, the move would make a lot of sense. Philippe Senderos, Ron Vlaar, and Matthew Lowton all look to be set to leave this summer. Richards's flexibility could make him a useful asset, and he certainly has the skill to be able to start at either position.
But, this is a rumour based on betting. As such it's hard to tell what to make of it. Twitter seems to have decided that the move is a done deal, but I remain less convinced. It certainly could happen, but until I see some better sources (or Richards holding a Villa kit), I'll remain dubious.