Sky Sports star Micah Richards has revealed he wanted to leave Aston Villa to join West Ham United.
Richards has revealed the truth behind then West Ham boss Slaven Bilic’s attempts to bring him to the London Stadium four years ago.
Speaking to FilthyFellas on YouTube, Richards claims he wanted to leave Aston Villa for the Hammers.
Richards reveals he wanted to leave Villa for West Ham
Richards revealed West Ham were offering him a two-year deal where his knee injury programme would be managed to ensure he only played once a week.
But then-Villa boss Roberto Di Matteo refused to let him leave because he was ‘too influential’ in the changing room.
“I explained the situation about my knee and I said ‘West Ham want me’,” Richards told FilthyFellas.
“And he said ‘Well I’m not letting you go’.
“I said ‘What do you mean you’re not letting me go’. He said ‘You’re too much of an influence in the dressing room, if I lose you then I’m going to lose the whole squad’.
‘I went into Villa Park and said we’ve got this offer from West Ham, can I leave?’
“So I said ‘You want me to (stay) and be a cheerleader then’ and he said ‘No I want your experience’.
“So again on deadline day, West Ham put an offer through to Aston Villa and the club were mulling over it… so If I was a problem like all the Villa fans thought, they could have offloaded me.
“I go to Villa Park (to speak to the sporting director and explain my situation) and say ‘Look we’ve got this offer from West Ham, can I leave’ and he said the exact same thing as Di Matteo ‘No we can’t let you go’.
“I said ‘So you want me to be in the changing room and not play’. And he pretty much just said ‘Yes’ – no word of a lie.”
West Ham signed the ageing Alvaro Arbeloa instead in a move which did not work out for the Spaniard or the Hammers.
Richards was one of five right-backs the Hammers were reported to have bid for including Leicester City’s Danny Simpson and Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Dominic Iorfa.
Hammers signed Arbeloa instead while Richards’s career went on to be cut short by knee injury
Richards has been making waves as a pundit after retiring from football.
He is easy to see why West Ham might have wanted Richards back then.
Having burst onto the Premier League scene as a powerful, pacy defender Bilic probably hoped he could help Richards rediscover his best form.
But it was persistent injuries -particularly to his knee – that derailed the defender’s career.
As captain, Richards was criticised throughout his time at Villa by fans and pundits such as Stan Collymore and Ian Wright.
He even had a long-running Twitter spat with Wright after the former West Ham striker singled him out for criticism as Villa cemented their place as one of the worst sides in Premier League history that season.
He also had a heated row with Villa fans after drawing in the FA Cup at Wycombe Wanderers.
Some West Ham fans were disappointed the club didn’t sign Richards at the time.
But Aston Villa fans claimed the Hammers had dodged a bullet by overlooking the former Fiorentina man with some of their reactions on Twitter.
Now at least Richards has been able to set the record straight.
Although given his injury problems perhaps it was a good thing the move never materialised after all.