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According to reports from the Sun, Premier League side AFC Bournemouth are set to make a move for Reading FC’s teenage left-back Omar Richards in the January transfer window.
The 19-year old Richards, who broke into the Royals’ first-team setup this season, has just seven months left on his contract with the club and with no negotiations over a new deal going on, the Cherries are hoping to capitalise on this situation and make a move for the full-back in the winter window. The report adds that the player could be available for as less as £2million in January.
Having started off with the Fulham academy, Richards moved to the Royals back in 2013 and has risen through the ranks at the club rapidly. Highly rated by the people in and around the club, the youngster got his first taste of senior football, when manager Jaap Stam handed him his debut in the EFL Championship season opener against Queens Park Rangers, which Reading lost 2-0.
Since that appearance, Richards has appeared in two more Championship games, only one of which has been a start. He also started in the club’s EFL Cup first-round victory over Gillingham. In his limited amount of playing time, the 19-year old has managed to turn several heads with his displays at the left-back position, which have led to comparisons with former Arsenal and Chelsea full-back Ashley Cole.
Bournemouth, who occupy the 13th place in the Premier League table, following their 4-0 triumph over newly-promoted Huddersfield Town over the weekend, have relied completely on Charlie Daniels as their option at left-back, and the 31-year old has been one of their most consistent performers over the years. However, it would be fair to say that Eddie Howe’s side does lack a proper backup to Daniels if he were to get injured.
Brad Smith, who joined the club from Liverpool in the summer of 2016 hasn’t really been convincing and has had injury issues of his own, which has seen him make only 10 appearances for the club in over a year. Fellow left-back Rhoys Wiggins has found himself frozen out of the first-team, leaving Howe stretched for options at left-back.
So, bringing in a left-sided defender in January wouldn’t be the worst idea for the Cherries. While the comparisons with Ashley Cole might be way too premature, there are no doubts that Richards does have plenty of potential within him. Possessing good pace and a strong left-foot, the 19-year old has shown glimpses of quality going forward and has displayed great promise in his fledgeling career.
Sure, there are aspects of his game that need development but given that he could be available for just £2million in January, a move to bring him to the Vitality Stadium would prove to be a good deal for Bournemouth.