By Amir Mir

Aston Villa blocked a deadline-day move for defender Micah Richards, according to a report.

The Birmingham Mail state that Richards is still seen as a valuable asset to manager Roberto Di Matteo’s plans this season, despite not being a first-choice player.

The 28-year-old signed for the Midlands club last summer on a free transfer, but endured a miserable campaign as Villa were relegated to the Championship after picking up just three wins all season.

It is said that contrary to fan opinion, the former Manchester City player is actually a good character to have around the club.

Richards has not featured in the Championship for Di Matteo this season, with his sole appearance coming in the humiliating 3-1 defeat against Luton Town in the EFL Cup.

It is said Turkish side Besiktas registered interest in the former Premier League winner, but he did not want to relocate to Istanbul.

Sunderland and Hull were also interested, and West Ham made a late bid only to be blocked by the Midlands club.

The versatile defender has fallen behind in the pecking order at Villa Park to club captain Tommy Elphick, James Chester and Nathan Baker at the centre of defence.

Richards who can also play at right-back is seemingly behind Leandro Bacuna, Alan Hutton and summer signing Ritchie de Laet in the full-back positon.

In other Aston Villa transfer news, Stan Collymore provides a heartfelt tribute to the departing club legend.