Aston Villa are expected to complete the signing of Fulham’s Kieran Richardson within the next 24 hours, according to reports.
With only a year remaining on his contract, the 29-year-old is set to arrive for a small fee, subject to a medical, as Fulham look to trim their wage bill following relegation to the Championship.
Villa’s funds are at a premium this summer, as want-away owner Randy Lerner continues to search for potential buyers of the club, forcing manager Paul Lambert to look to low-cost, veteran additions so far, with both Philippe Senderos and Joe Cole arriving on free transfers.
Former Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner is rumoured to be on Lambert’s wish-list too, as another option who fits that description, while Richardson’s Premier League experience would also help bolster a thin and inexperienced squad, who have battled relegation over the past two seasons.
The move for the full-back-cum-winger is widely thought to have been influenced by new assistant manager Roy Keane, who played with Richardson at Manchester United and later managed him at Sunderland, where the ex-England international credited the Irishman for saving his career.
The pair are said to have remained close since and the Old Trafford legend’s influence was reportedly the deciding factor in Villa beating off Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion to his signature.
While Richardson played the majority of last season in his former left-wing role under both Rene Meulensteen and Felix Magath, he had previously been deployed at full-back since being brought to Fulham by Martin Jol in August 2012, the position which he was converted to during his final two seasons at Sunderland.
Left-back has been a problem area for Villa for some time, with the club going through a plethora of options over the past few campaigns, current alternatives Joe Bennett and Antonio Luna having flattered to deceive during their time with the side.
Chelsea youngster Ryan Bertrand was brought in on loan for the second-half of last season but, having now returned to his parent club and with Villa unable to meet his £8 million asking price, Richardson is the man earmarked to fill the position for 2014-15.
While fans have greeted his potential arrival with mixed reaction, considering Villa’s current financial situation, it is a deal which makes sense for the rebuilding club, who are set for another challenging top-flight season.