It seems like only yesterday that Micah Richards burst onto the scene as a bullish 17-year-old, but with Man City keen to offer their impressive youngster Reece Wabara a new contract and first team opportunities limited, the 13-cap England man’s Etihad days could be numbered.
Newcastle have emerged as his most likely destination should a move come to pass, with their Premier League third-leakiest defence in need of bolstering if they’re to justify odds of 2/1 about a top-ten finish this term.
Wabara has started nine games from a possible 12 on loan at Doncaster Rovers this season.
Paul Dickov’s links with the Etihad will have undoubtedly helped him secure the 21-year-old’s one-month loan signing at the beginning of the 2013/14 and the full-back has reportedly impressed his parent club with his performances since.
Having stepped in to replace injured first-choice James Husband, his showings have convinced Donny to extend his initial loan deal until January.
It’s rumoured that City are keen to tie him down to a long-term deal with a first team future foreseen and his rise through the ranks could rate an early success story in the club’s renewed bid to begin nurturing their own players.
Richards has started just two of City’s ten games this season.
It was largely injury that limited the right-back to seven showings in a sky blue shirt last term, but the form of Pablo Zabaleta has meant starting opportunities have remained hard to come by in 2013/14.
Having famously shone when played at centre-half in the Citizens’ 2007 derby win over Man Utd a berth in that position may have offered him some game time in the absence of the injured Vincent Kompany, but Manuel Pellegrini is understood to have suggested he considers Richards as a wide defender only.
Newcastle believe a guaranteed first team spot could lure him to the north east.
Although Richards is rumoured to have privately accepted that he will be rotated with Zabaleta in Pellegrini’s side, the guarantee of a start could have some pull for him with the upcoming World Cup in mind and little specialist competition for Glen Johnson within the England ranks.
Mathieu Debuchy has done little to nail down the right-back spot at St James’ Park since his arrival from Lille and given Alan Pardew is reportedly keen to bring more English players into his squad the Magpies could offer Richards a sympathetic stable from which to rebuild his career.