Leeds United could make Chris Richards their seventh signing of the summer…
What’s the word?
According to CBS Sports journalist Ben Jacobs, manager Jesse Marsch is considering a move for Bayern Munich and USMNT defender Chris Richards as he looks to bolster his backline.
“Sources tell me Marsch is still considering USMNT defender Chris Richards, though nothing beyond that yet,” he tweeted.
Should Leeds bid for Chris Richards?
It’s thought that, whilst the Whites are yet to make an official move, they would face competition from Premier League rivals Southampton and Crystal Palace, as well as unnamed teams from Spain.
Jacobs also added:
“Logic of Richards from Marsch’s perspective is he can be used at full-back. Leeds ideally want another left-back. Richards is primarily a centre-back, though, and I am told Leeds haven’t yet made any Bayern approach. One to watch given Leeds love signing Americans these days!”
Just as the reliable reporter suggests, Richards could add a valuable option to Marsch’s defensive line as he can not only play centrally but also out on the left, where the American head coach has just lost Junior Firpo to injury.
With the former Barcelona man set to miss the start of the season next month, it would be wise for director of football Victor Orta to add the Bayern Munich gem as his next signing this window.
Following a loan spell at Bundesliga outfit Hoffenheim, the 22-year-old from Alabama has emerged as one of Europe’s biggest talents, as seen by FBref metrics, with the statistical site comparing him to that of Mats Hummels.
Richards, compared to his positional peers across Europe, ranks inside the top 1% for blocks (2.62 per 90), the top 2% for aerial duels won (4.75 per 90) and the top 4% for non-penalty expected goals and assists (0.12 per 90), proving to be a threat in both boxes.
It’s no wonder his USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter has dubbed him a “great talent”, with former Bayern boss Hansi Flick a fan too, once claiming: “Chris has very good qualities – he is strong and knows how to jump for the ball. He absolutely deserves his playing time with the first team.”
Elsewhere, former scout-turned-analyst Thomas Rongen has praised another aspect of his game – his passing ability.
“He’s different than anything we’ve ever had as a centre-back because I think his range of passing is better than any centre-back we’ve ever seen in the United States. His ability to see the field and break lines with his passing – he’s a high-level passer from the back – and he’s just an athletic freak,” he said.
Also lauded as a “complete” and “dominant” centre-back by scout Jacek Kulig, Richards could well hit the ground running at Elland Road under his fellow countryman.
Whether he’s a partner for Liam Cooper, a backup or a versatile option on the left, he would be a very worthwhile signing for the Yorkshire giants, going by the evidence above.
The 6 foot 2 powerhouse is thought to be free to leave Bayern for a fee of around €15m (£12.6m), so he could well be an absolute bargain for Orta and co.
AND in other news, Orta handed huge boost in Otavio pursuit…