Aston Villa have signed defender Micah Richards on a four-year free transfer deal. The English defender will join Villa from July 1 when his contract ends.

Tim Sherwood will use Richards as a replacement for Ron Vlaar, who’s future at Villa is murky at best. The Dutch defender has continuously been linked to join his national manager Louis van Gaal at Manchester United.

With Vlaar approaching the end of his contract, and with multiple offers lined up for the Dutchman, Sherwood probably felt that the 26 year old Richards was an apt signing for Villa. The fact that he started his career in a central defensive role bolstered his credentials for Villa.

“I’m really pleased to get Micah on board and I’m sure he will prove to be an excellent signing for the football club.” said Sherwood on Villa’s official website.

The England international eventually moved to the full back position for Manchester City but doesn’t mind playing the central role in the future. Richards spent some time in Serie A last season when he was on loan at Fiorentina. In total, Richards has made 13 appearances for England but none since February 2012 when Stuart Pearce stepped in as interim manager after Fabio Capello’s departure.

Micah Richards, left, and Franck Ribéry in Manchester City's Champions League tie with Bayern Munich.
Micah Richards, left, and Franck Ribéry in Manchester City’s Champions League tie with Bayern Munich.

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