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Micah Richards: Why Alan Pardew wants Man City defender



Arsenal Richards Transfer

It has been widely reported in recent days that Newcastle United want Manchester City’s Micah Richards.

Richards, 25, has seen his career at the Etihad grind to a halt because of a combination of injuries and the emergence of Pablo Zabaleta.

Knee surgery last October cost Richards six months of action and he has played just six games for City since.

His England ambitions have consequently suffered – and this at a time when injury and suspension rob Roy Hodgson of a natural option to play right back against Poland.

Is a January move to the Toon on the cards? Richards is also linked to a whole host of clubs both in the Premier League and abroad.

Magpies manager Alan Pardew appears undeterred by a particularly ring-rusty performance put in by Richards in City’s 3-1 Champions League home humbling by Bayern Munich.

Neither are other suitors, including fellow English top flight heavyweights Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal as well as Serie A side Roma.

Despite signing a job lot of French footballers in January, including current right back Mathieu Debuchy, Pardew has now turned the emphasis back to British.

“One issue is that we’re going to need to look at British players quickly because we’re starting to get filled up with perhaps too many foreign players,” said Pardew.

Who knows whether Newcastle director of football Joe Kinnear may be slowly realizing this, but both full backs are actually pretty predictable.

Former Lille man Debuchy, 28, began life as a midfield player and is certainly more wingback than a natural defender.

Italian Davide Santon, a right footer playing on the left, meanwhile always passes infield or cuts inside further up the pitch.

Opposition forwards know what they are going to get from the current options when they take on the Toon.

Richards, at his best, would offer Pardew pace, power and set piece prowess. Who can forget that towering first goal he scored for City at Aston Villa in an FA Cup tie?

There’s a reminder for you. But it is also a reminder to City supporters and to Chilean coach Manuel Pellegrini what Richards can still offer them.

Should Zabaleta stay fit and healthy, however, it appears crystal clear that Richards will simply have a bit part role at the Etihad.

Newcastle still have long-term injury absentee Ryan Taylor to come back, but he is not expected to even begin training again until the New Year.

If Pardew’s faith in Debuchy is shaken further before January there are others who can cover. Utility man Vurnon Anita immediately leaps to mind.

It does bring into question the wisdom of letting Danny Simpson leave St James’ Park for nothing in the summer though.

The Toon manager is so keen to talk about having homegrown players now, but another versatile option James Perch also exited the Northeast.

Richards’s arrival would bring some of that back. His physical assets have made him a more than able deputy at centre half before.

Kinnear boasted about his worldwide contacts network upon his controversial return to the Magpies.

Few new arrivals followed in the transfer market this summer at Newcastle, but if he could put a deal together for Richards it would be something of a coup.