Why Everton should push hard for Omar Richards amid Bayern links
The Bavarian giants have scouted the left-back at close quarters and have now informed Reading that they intend to speak to him over a pre-contract agreement. Richards has entered the last six months of his contract at the Madejski Stadium, meaning that he is free to negotiate his next move with clubs from abroad. (h/t The Telegraph)
That comes as a massive blow to Everton’s chances of securing a deal for the highly-rated young full-back. The Daily Mail claimed last month that the Lewisham-born starlet is on the Toffees’ radar while the Reading Chronicle also mentioned Premier League rivals Crystal Palace and West Ham among the potential suitors.
Richards started his footballing education in the youth ranks of Fulham. However, he was released in 2013 and joined Reading to further his development. The left-back made his senior breakthrough for the Royals in the Championship during the 2017-18 season following a string of impressive performances for the club’s U-23 side.
The 22-year-old has hit great heights under Veljko Paunovic this season, playing a key role in Reading’s impressive start to the campaign in the Championship. Richards has made 20 league appearances so far while establishing himself among the best-performing left-backs in the English second-tier.
Meanwhile, Everton’s reported pursuit of Omar Richards certainly makes a lot of sense in footballing terms. The Toffees have Lucas Digne as the only accomplished left-back in Carlo Ancelotti’s ranks. Niels Nkounkou was roped in from PSG in the summer to provide cover for the influential Frenchman but has made just 4 appearances so far.
Digne’s injury has forced Ancelotti to shoehorn Ben Godfrey, essentially a centre-back by trade, into the left-back slot. The England U-21 starlet has done a decent job but he does have his fair share of limitations in that role, considering that he is naturally right-footed. Everton should, therefore, seek further reinforcements in that department as they aim to build a formidable squad under Ancelotti.
Putting things into perspective, Omar Richards ticks plenty of boxes to come through the door at Everton as a useful long-term addition to the ranks at Goodison Park. Bayern seem to have gained the upper hand in the race to sign the Reading prospect but with a deal yet to be agreed, the door remains open for Everton to go all out in their pursuit of the player.
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Everton snapped up Ben Godfrey from Norwich City in the summer and the youngster has made a positive impression in his debut season at the club. Omar Richards looks like a player in a similar mould, having earned plenty of plaudits for his performances in the Championship.
He still has plenty of room for development at 22, thus making him a lucrative target for the Toffees. Having said that, Everton should act fast and beat off competition in the race to sign the highly-rated Reading starlet.