Aston Villa's Micah Richards
According to the Daily Telegraph, Aston Villa defender Micah Richards has a £5m release clause in his contract, meaning he could leave the club this summer.
Richards was one of a host of signings made by Villa and former boss Tim Sherwood last summer, as he joined the club on a free transfer after his Manchester City contract had expired.
Immediately handed the captain's armband, much was expected of the Birmingham-born defender, but much like most of the Villa squad, he struggled to live up to expectations.
Richards was part of a Villa side which suffered relegation to the Championship, and for a player who had hoped that a move to Villa Park would put him back in contention for a spot in the England squad, playing in the second tier may not be what Richards was hoping for.
He may have an escape route, though. The Telegraph report that Richards has a £5m release clause in his deal, with Premier League clubs potentially looking to pay that fee and take him back to the top flight.
One club who should be in the race for his signature is Sunderland. The Daily Mail reported back in January that manager Sam Allardyce had failed in a bid to sign Richards, with Villa refusing to sell.
Now with the release clause possibly activated by Villa's relegation, Allardyce should be weighing up another move for the player, given that he needs options in the two positions Richards can play; centre back and right back.
Finding a partner for Lamine Kone at centre back has to be a priority for Allardyce, whilst Richards' athleticism certainly lends itself to playing at right back, where Sunderland have lost Tottenham loanee DeAndre Yedlin.
£5m would take a chunk out of Allardyce's budget, but Richards could solve a real problem for the Black Cats, and hand Allardyce the player he wanted to sign earlier this year whilst saving Richards from his Villa hell.
Do you think Sunderland should move for Richards again?