Aston Villa fans react on Twitter to the signing of Micah Richards

Micah Richards

The 26-year-old defender joins the club on a free transfer from Manchester City.

After almost a week of speculation, Tim Sherwood’s first new signing as Aston Villa manager was finally confirmed on Wednesday evening as Manchester City defender Micah Richards.

The 26-year-old, who has 13 England caps, has agreed a four-year deal with the club and will officially move to Villa Park on 1 July after his City contract expires.

According to reports last week, Richards turned down lucrative offers from the likes of Inter Milan, Sunderland and West Ham United following successful talks with Sherwood, who is said to have earmarked his new acquisition as a potential centre-back replacement for soon-to-be free agent Ron Vlaar [h/t Guardian].

The City academy graduate made over 240 appearances for the Blues after earning his first-team debut as a 17-year-old in October 2005 and was a key member of Roberto Mancini’s 2011-12 Premier League-winning side.

However, he begun to find his opportunities limited the following term and, after featuring just 10 times during the 2013-14 campaign under current boss Manuel Pellegrini, was shipped out to Fiorentina on a season-long loan in September.

The Birmingham-born stopper could not hold down a regular place in the Serie A club’s line-up, however, making 19 total appearances, and is now heading back to the Midlands in a bid to revitalise his once-flourishing career.

Labelled a future international star after becoming the youngest defender ever to feature for England in November 2006, aged 18, Villa fans will be hoping to see some of that potential resurface over the coming seasons and, judging from the Twitter reaction, most are optimistic about his claret and blue future.

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