Micah Richards has officially ended his loan spell with Fiorentina, leaving his parent club Manchester City to sign on a free transfer to Aston Villa. The transfer had been mooted for around a week before the official confirmation from the Premier League side came through today. The 26 year old looks set to earn an impressive salary of around £65,000 per week and will potentially play at centre half rather than his usual right back for the Midlands club. There had been some interest in Richards from his former manager Roberto Mancini at Inter, and from other Premier League clubs such as Sunderland but in the end, the Birmingham born player chose to return to his roots.
His season with the viola had been a mainly frustrating one as he swapped Manchester City's bench for the (much warmer) bench of Fiorentina, not featuring heavily in Vincenzo Montella's plans. After some impressive displays, mainly in the earlier rounds of the Europa League, many Fiorentina fans would have liked to see more from the right back, but it did not work out this way, as Montella mainly chose to favour Nenad Tomović when playing four at the back.
There may be a natural replacement for Richards on the way back to Florence as 22 year old right back Cristiano Piccini may return soon from his loan spell at Real Betis. The promising young player has been on loan since 2011, playing for Carrarese, Spezia and Livorno before joining Betis last season.
Despite the lack of game time in Florence, we at Viola Nation wish Micah all the best at his new club.