By Harvey Byrne

Sunderland are set to offer Aston Villa defender Micah Richards an immediate return to the Premier League, according to a report.

The Telegraph claims that the Black Cats are poised to activate Richards’ release clause although it does not specify the figure.

However, it is said that Richards’ potential move to Sunderland could be delayed by the uncertainty surrounding the future of Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce, who was interviewed for the England job last week.

The 28-year-old defender joined Villa on a free transfer from Manchester City in 2015 and the defender played in 28 matches last season, predominantly at centre-back.

The 13-time capped England international was once considered a bright prospect as he broke into City’s senior side in the Premier League as a right-back.

But a combination of the Manchester side’s increased wealth and the emergence of Pablo Zabaleta has seen Richards’ career hit a steep decline.

The Premier League spent the 2014-15 season on loan in Italy with Fiorentina, but struggled to break into the side before his move to the Midlands.

Richards made his last appearance for England in 2012 and he also featured as one of the overage players in Team GB’s London Olympic football team in 2012.

In other Aston Villa transfer news, Hamburg have lodged an £8million bid for Jordan Ayew.