In what is rapidly becoming one of the more drawn out transfer sagas this summer, it has emerged today that Everton are keen to make a play for the services of Kieran Richardson.
The converted left-back, about to enter the final year of his contract, has long been the subject of rumours this summer amid speculation he's unhappy on Wearside, and would like to return closer to his native London. This is what sparked the rumours earlier in the summer that he was on the verge of joining West Ham United.
Those rumours appear to have gone a little cold of late, and now it's come out today that Everton are preparing to make a move for him as they fully expect to lose England international Leighton Baines to Manchester United.
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With Richardson in the final year of his contract, and if indeed he's reluctant to sign a new one, then now would be the time to cash in. That said, if Martin O'Neill can convince him to stay for an extra year or two, it would be possibly one of the best signings he could make this summer.
While the former Manchester United man has been moved all around the pitch in an effort to find his best position, he's begun to look stronger and stronger at left-back the more he's played there, and indeed looks very comfortable there.
Replacing him would be a tough task. Names of 'proper' left-backs such as Steven Warnock have been touted around, and while he's alright, that's about as good as it gets for him. Richardson has much more in his locker than Warnock. Alternatively we could look abroad, and there was speculation about Vurnon Anita of Ajax, although he looks set to stay at the Amsterdam Arena.
As far as Richardson goes, he's not elite in the class of Patrice Evra or Ashley Cole, but within the Premier League he's firmly in that second group - which is about as good as we can get right now.
Whether or not O'Neill can make him stay is another thing, but we can hold out some hope. Rightly or wrongly, he convinced a homesick Craig Gardner to stay at the club, and hopefully he can use his powers of persuasion once again on Richardson, as any offer for him form Everton is likely to be well below his true market value given the contract situation.