At the weekend, cracks began to show in the relationship between Stephan Lichtsteiner and Juventus in the club’s efforts to renew his contract.
The Swiss international’s current deal expires next summer and a failure to agree fresh terms has left the Bianconeri vulnerable to losing him.
Tuttosport reported on Saturday that Juventus are preparing to speak with Udinese about 21-year-old Silvan Widmer in a bid to secure a replacement for the 30-year-old.
This is news that will please Arsenal and Chelsea, who have been said to be monitoring Lichtsteiner’s situation in Turin with keen interest.
Now, Juventus have been linked with another possible successor for the ex-Lazio man. According to Calciomercato, Manchester City loanee Micah Richards is under consideration by the Bianconeri to take over the right wing-back role.
The Englishman is already in Italy with Fiorentina but his future remains unclear, as his City contract expires in the summer and it’s unknown if the Viola will look to sign him permanently.
A move for Richards fits Juventus’ usual modus operandi on the transfer market, with general director Beppe Marotta always keen on securing quality free transfers.
The link comes as another sign that the Old Lady may indeed be preparing for life after Lichtsteiner, who is said to be quite interested in swapping Serie A for the Premier League.
Juventus will know by January whether the Swiss will be staying or not, giving the club ample time to chart Richards’ progress.
Due to injuries the Fiorentina man has made just two appearances in the Italian top flight to date, and the Bianconeri will undoubtedly want to see more to be convinced of his signing.
Lichtsteiner signing a pre-contract with Arsenal or Chelsea could thus trigger the move, with Richards also free to do so come January.
There’s certainly no space for the 26-year-old back at City, though Fiorentina could foreseeably scupper any Juventus plan to get Richards should they wish.
The Viola have the inside track having retained Richards’ services for this season and as Juventus’ arch-rivals would certainly relish getting one over on the Piedmont outfit.