Richards, 27, joined Villa on a free transfer from Manchester City last summer, and was seen as the player to help solidify Villa's defence after a loan spell with Fiorentina last season.
However, Richards has had some inconsistent spells during the season, and both Tim Sherwood and Remi Garde, Villa's two managers this term, have struggled to work out whether Richards is a centre back or a right back.
Villa and Richards are hurtling towards relegation to the Championship, and sit bottom of the Premier League table with just 16 points to their name, eight points adrift of safety.
Relegation would no doubt lead to a host of departures from Villa Park, and The Telegraph report that Richards could be one such player to leave the club, given that he has a £5m release clause in his contract, which activates this summer.
Despite his underwhelming campaign, the former England international is bound to generate interest, and the report claims that Sunderland are looking at signing Richards once again.
It's stated that Sunderland tried and failed to sign Richards in January, but may be prepared to rekindle their interest in signing him again this summer - but that potential deal could hinge on whether Sunderland can beat relegation and stay in the top flight.
Should Sunderland move to sign Richards this summer?