Report: Aston Villa and Norwich enter race for Swansea defender Jazz Richards

The 24-year-old Wales international is widely expected to leave the Liberty Stadium this summer.

Aston Villa and Norwich City have both joined the race to sign Swansea City defender Ashley “Jazz” Richards, according to the BBC.

Richards, 24, made 13 total appearances for Swansea last season but spent most of the second half of the campaign on loan at Fulham, who are now reported to have had a bid of around £500,000 for the right-back accepted.

The BBC claims that he has held talks with the Championship club over a permanent move to Craven Cottage but, after an impressive performance in Wales’ recent 1-0 win over Belgium, is now attracting interest from Villa and Premier League newcomers Norwich.

It is added that neither club have made an approach for the five-time capped international at this point but, with just 12 months left on his current contract, both are eager to snap him up for a cut-price fee.

 2014-15 LeagueTeamGoalsAssistsTotal Key PassesPassing AccuracyTotal Crosses GAMETotal Tackles GAMETotal Clearances GAMETotal Dribbles GAMEAppearancesMins Played
Ashley Richards Championship Fulham 0 0 6 79% 1.86 2.36 4.5 0.64 14 1,260
Ashley Richards Premier League Swansea 0 1 3 84% 0.7 1.8 2.3 0.7 10 634

However, Villa and Norwich are not thought to be alone in wanting Richards this summer, as the likes of Crystal Palace, West Bromwich Albion, Queens Park Rangers and Derby County have all been named as potential suitors in recent weeks [h/t BBC].

The versatile full-back, who can also operate in midfield, has featured 51 times for Swansea since earning his first-team debut in August 2009 but has found his opportunities at the Liberty Stadium limited of late due to the presence of Angel Rangel and now Kyle Naughton.

According to the BBC, he is set to further discuss his future with the Welsh outfit and interested clubs when he returns from his off-season break later this week but is understood to be open to a move “in order to enhance his international prospects”.

While Villa did make Micah Richards their first summer signing last week, manager Tim Sherwood is believed to have earmarked the England defender as a replacement for soon-to-be free agent Ron Vlaar at centre-back, rather than a right-back option [h/t Guardian].

Norwich, meanwhile, were linked with a move for former claret and blue full-back Matthew Lowton earlier this month to add competition for the incumbent Steven Whittaker [h/t Telegraph] but he has since joined relegated Burnley for around £1 million.

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