Richards signs new Manchester City deal

February 8, 2008

Micah Richards was relieved to end speculation about his future by signing what Manchester City believe is the longest contract in their history.

The England defender, 19, has committed to the club until the summer of 2013 after penning a five-and-a-half-year deal.

One of the most highly-rated young players in the country, Richards had more than two years left to run on his previous deal.

But amid rumours of interest from the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal, City were desperate to secure the long-term future of one of their prize assets.

'I've always wanted to be at this club and signing this five-and-a-half-year contract shows that,' said Richards, who is believed to have negotiated vastly improved terms.

'It puts all the speculation to bed.

'I can concentrate on the rest of the season now.'

Richards has forged an impressive partnership with captain Richard Dunne at the heart of the City defence this season as new boss Sven-Goran Eriksson has transformed the club from relegation strugglers to European contenders.

'The manager has been great,' Richards added on MCFC TV.

'We're going to fight for Europe, which is a massive achievement.

'I try to put in 100% every match and hopefully I can keep playing that way and playing for my country as well.'

Richards, who has won 11 caps and scored one international goal, began talks about extending his contract at the start of the season and Eriksson was delighted to have finally ended the saga.

'This is fantastic news,' the Swede said.

'It shows we are building for the future by securing one of our most talented players on a long-term contract.'

Chief executive Alistair Mackintosh added: 'Our strategy is to sign our top young stars on long-term deals.

'To the best of my knowledge, a five-and-a-half-year deal is the longest in our history.

'The manager is delighted, (owner) Dr Thaksin (Shinawatra)'s delighted and I'm personally delighted.'