x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Transfer talk: Micah Richards wants to stay at Manchester City

Speculation rife of a move out of Etihad Stadium with just two years left on England midfielder's contract.

Micah Richards is open to a healthy competition with Pablo Zabaleta at Manchester City.
Micah Richards is open to a healthy competition with Pablo Zabaleta at Manchester City.

Micah Richards, the versatile defender, wants to remain at Manchester City – but warned that he must be playing regularly.

The 25 year old, who can play at full-back or in a central position, has been linked with a move away from the Etihad and he has only two years remaining on his contract.

"Last season was a bit of a nightmare with injuries. I picked up the ankle problem at the Olympics and came back from that and then tore my cartilage," Richards told the Manchester City website, after touching down in Hong Kong on Monday.

"The main thing is to be playing. I know there are a lot of games and I don't expect to play every game but the season we won the title me and Zaba [Pablo Zabaleta] rotated really well together so if we can do that this season I'll be happy."

There has been speculation Richards could be tempted to move abroad, with Inter Milan reportedly interested.

But he said: "Manchester City is my club and I've never considered playing anywhere else.

"I think there has been speculation because I've got two years left on my contract and Pablo Zabaleta had a fantastic season.

"He's outstanding but that's what you expect at top teams and you expect competition. The season before we won the Premier League and I had a good year, but now I'm just happy to be back fit."

The English Premier League club play South China in Hong Kong on Wednesday as part of the Barclays Asia Trophy.

Di Canio lauds new Sunderland signing

Paolo di Canio, the Sunderland manager, has lavished praise on new signing Emanuele Giaccherini, calling him one of the best players in Europe.

The Italian international, who can play as a wing-back, winger, deep-lying forward or attacking midfielder, moved to Sunderland last week from Juventus for £6.5 million (Dh36.67m).

Speaking ahead of the 28-year-old's likely debut, against Spurs on Wednesday in Hong Kong, fellow Italian Di Canio said: "In my opinion he's one of the best players in Europe to suit my system.

"There are not many wingers with his intelligence or ability to interpret the role," Di Canio, who has overseen a major overhaul of the Sunderland squad, told the club's official website.

"The way he moves around the pitch and the space he creates for his team-mates and his overall ability to read games – he's one of the top players."

Di Canio, who took over near the end of last season and kept Sunderland in the Premier League, hopes that Giaccherini will get the fans on their feet.

"He was one of the best players in the Confederations Cup and he's a regular in the national team," said the Sunderland boss.

"He's a very good player; he's further behind his team-mates in terms of fitness because he finished late at the Confederations Cup.

"I'm sure the fans are going to enjoy what they see from him because he is a good player."

Sunderland, in Hong Kong for the Barclays Asia Trophy, start their league campaign at home to Fulham on August 17.

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