Richards makes Fiorentina switch

Out-of-favour Manchester City defender Micah Richards has joined Fiorentina on loan for the rest of the season, BBC Sport has confirmed.

Richards is City’s longest player, having been associated with the club since the age of 14. Richards has made 245 City appearances in all competitions since his debut as a 17-year-old in October 2005.

But having fallen behind the likes of Pablo Zabaleta and new arrival Bacary Sagna in the pecking order, he has decided to ply his trade away from the Etihad Stadium for the first time in his career.

Richards is said to have attracted interest from other Premier League clubs, but opted instead for a move to Serie A to seek a new challenge. Fiorentina have paid City a loan fee of £3.5 million, with an option to make the deal permanent with an additional payment of £1.2 million later.

The 26-year-old was highly rated as a youngster, and made his England debut at the age of 18. He has gone on to win 13 senior caps for his country, and was also a member of the Great Britain team at the 2012 Olympic Games. However, his lack of recent action at club level has also seen him lose his place in the national team.

Richards is the second English defender to move to the peninsula this summer after former Arsenal and Chelsea full back Ashley Cole joined AS Roma. He will have to wait until after the international break to make his Fiorentina debut, with the Viola’s next match coming on 14th September at home against Genoa.

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