Newcastle lead race for Manchester City’s Richards

Newcastle are leading the race to sign Manchester City’s £7 million-rated right-back, Micah Richards.

Alan Pardew is looking to bolster his defence in the summer transfer window and is willing to match the 25-year-old’s £70,000-a-week wage.

Richards, who has made just 18 appearances in the last 18 months due to knee and hamstring injuries, has a year remaining on his current contract with City and stalled discussions over a new deal on similar terms last summer.

Having fallen firmly behind Pablo Zabaleta as Manuel Pellegrini’s first-choice right-back, Richards is keen to become a regular in the Premier League.

He could move further down the pecking order if City follow up their reported interest in Arsenal’s Bacary Sagna, who is out of contract this summer, with a concrete offer for the Frenchman.

Richards joined City from Oldham’s academy in 2001 and the League One club would receive 20 per cent of the defender’s transfer fee.

City are also poised to open talks with James Milner over a contract extension.

The 28-year-old will have one year remaining on his deal this summer but is happy to remain at the Etihad Stadium if he continues to play a part in Pellegrini’s squad rotation.

The City boss is an admirer of Milner’s versatility and the club are keen to complete a deal before the player sets off for England’s World Cup campaign in Brazil.

City would be willing to offer Milner a three-year extension on his current £85,000-a-week salary.