Richardson, 30, came up through the ranks at Manchester United, but he became a Premier League regular during his time at Sunderland.
With 149 appearances in five years at the Stadium of Light, Richardson was an integral first team member before moving on to Fulham three years ago.
Now with Aston Villa, Richardson is out of favour after manager Tim Sherwood snapped up French left back Jordan Amavi earlier this summer - and an exit could be on the cards.
The Daily Mirror report that Sunderland want to re-sign Richardson in a bid to aid their struggling defence, with Sherwood potentially willing to let the player leave before the transfer deadline.
Richardson has just one year left on his contract at Villa, and after Sunderland's dreadful start to the Premier League season, it's stated that Dick Advocaat wants to bring Richardson back to Wearside.
Whether Richardson would replace Patrick van Aanholt at left back remains to be seen, with the former England international also capable of playing in midfield too.
Richardson is far from an important player under Sherwood, making a move to the Black Cats increasingly likely, but Sunderland fans may not have had a Richardson return in mind when the transfer window opened earlier this summer as their disappointment grows.