How likely it is that Chelsea will bid for Richards I don't know, but if Chelsea were to make a bid (I would guess in the region of £10-£15 million) and the City board accepted then the disillusionment seen in recent times would pale into insignificance and they would have a full scale revolt on their hands as another one of the 'crown jewels' is sold to pay off debts.
One thing that has been mentioned to 'smooth' any deal is the possibility of Shaun Wright-Phillips returning to City as part of a trade between the two clubs.
We are all well aware of how Wright-Phillips' career has gone since he left the club and now he is little more than a bit part player for Chelsea, looking shorn of the swagger and confidence we witnessed and logic suggests that he needs to leave the Stamford Bridge to get his career back on track.
Now, could this be where the City board attempt to soften the blow of a Richards sale by including Wright-Phillips in any deal? Although less than eighteen months since his departure his value is nowhere near the £24 million received from Chelsea so could Chelsea be tempted to part with cash plus Wright-Phillips for Richards?
The board know the regard Wright-Phillips was held in, and many still cry out for his return to a side that in the main is devoid of the creative spark he brought during his latter days, and maybe they would believe a returning Wright-Phillips would be an acceptable return in any sale involving Richards.
Personally, I would be dead set against any move. For a start I don't know if Wright-Phillips would be prepared to come back to the club - in some ways tail between his legs and branded as a failure, even if Chelsea were willing to let him go - something I'm not sure they would do.
But the main reason is the potential of Richards. Although he has made his debut for England as a right-back and has been touted as a future centre-half, I believe his ideal position is in central midfield in the mould of Patrick Vieira, where he could dominate a game.
At this point in time, Richards for me has the greater potential of the two impact wise in the long run and I would see it as a gamble to bring back Wright-Phillips as he may not regain the heights to which he achieved at the club and a risk not worth taking if it means sacrificing Richards.
If there was a chance of landing Wright-Phillips without having to give up Richards then that is a different matter entirely...