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Expectations For 14/15: Micah Richards

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Is this the end?

Lennart Preiss

Questions?

Well, is this the end for Micah's Man City career?

On June 1st I would of said yes this is the end but the summer is dragging on now.

So Richards may well have a future at Man City?

He may stay at Man City for the upcoming season but it is unlikely that he has a long term future with the club.

Why no "long term future"?

Richards lost the #1 right back spot to Zabaleta for the 12/13 season due mostly to a bad run of injuries and then some poor form when called upon. Replacing Zabaleta as the #1 right back would now seem to be an impossible job for Richards.

There's more to it isn't there?

Yep. Man City obviously felt that Zabaleta's workload was becoming a problem and so the club felt they needed a trustworthy #2 right back. This job should have been Richards' but injury and poor performance meant that City overlooked the home grown product and instead went out and acquired Bacary Sagna.

What does Sagna's signing tell us about Richards' future?

It's the end, isn't it.

But maybe Richards will stay and fight it out?

Fight for what? The #2 right back spot or the #4 center back spot? There's just no room.

Maybe Richards will want to stay and fight, he's been here a long time and may not want to leave?

Part of me thinks it will be a wrench for the player to leave what has been home for +10 years, but the other part of me thinks he is a pro footballer who will believe he is good enough to play regularly in the PL and will want to prove this. He may now believe that it is impossible to prove this at Man City.

Any possible way he remains with Man City after the deadline closes?

Sure. He may not like any offer from any potential clubs, the club may not like any offer from other clubs. Injuries happen, people change their minds, Richards may well think that he will have greater control over his future as a free agent in summer 2015. It depends if the player has the patience to wait for another year.

How on earth did Richards get to the point where he is not a vital squad member?

It wasn't too long ago that Richards was the #1 right back for the title winning side of 11/12 but since then the player has suffered numerous injuries and Zabaleta, his competitor for the right back spot, has become a very accomplished player to the point where he is talked of as one of the better right back's in the PL.

But this is more about Richards: those injuries hurt. Injuries that take a toll on the body and on the confidence of the player. When Richards was given a chance this past season he looked awfully rusty and, at times, lost for positional sense. The old saying goes "let him play his way into form, he needs games under his belt" but for Man City, and where they are right now, I'm just not sure there is time for a player to able to slowly feel his way back into form. If a player gets a chance to play in the first XI that player better be ready to take it immediately and ensure the manager cannot leave you out of the next game.

I'm not sure Richards has done that recently.

He didn't take his chances last year, he barely played!

Correct, just 160 minutes in the Premier League.

richards top%

Wow, Richards played less than 5% of the available league minutes in 13/14?

Yeah, and just 18% the year before that. If we use a rolling 38 game set of info (every data point represents one 38 game season) and look at the trend for Richards' career it doesn't look pretty:

richards top graph

This is not good.

This makes me sad.

Increased competition, improved first team standard, Richards' own injuries and loss of form all contributed to this. Sagna may well be the final straw.

Will Richards be at Man City this season?

Uhhh, hmmm. I don't know

Will Richards be at Man City on February the 1st?

No. I think there's a chance Richards is sold or loaned out either in this window, or if not in this window, then in January.

In what circumstances does Richards stay at the club?

Change of heart from a few different people, injury, home grown considerations.

Final Thoughts?

I will be mighty sad to see Micah leave. We all remember the power and the pace, not to mention the potential he showed between, say, 19 and 22. We thought he could be a real good one once he learned a little more positional sense. It didn't really happen, injuries didn't help.

It will be a sad day if and when Micah leaves. This one will hurt. Remember the days when City were a poor, mid-table club and a crop of youngsters burst through? Johnson, Sturridge, Richards, Onuhoa, Ireland were the crop of players that we hoped would take Man City onwards and upwards. I would have wagered a decent amount that Richards and Johnson and Sturridge would have long successful careers. Sturridge is gone, the potential superstar Michael Johnson let it all slip away and Richards, ever so quietly, has faded out.

Richards exit will hurt, not as much as Michael Johnson's exit broke my heart, but still, it's going to painful.