David Moyes may rue West Ham United not signing Omar Richards in the January transfer window as the Reading defender has now reportedly agreed to join Bayern Munich for free.
What’s the word?
According to Football Insider, the 6 foot 1 Richards will pen a three-year deal with Hans-Dieter Flick’s Bundesliga giants after securing a pre-contract arrangement with the Bavarian powerhouse.
The Royals full-back is due to become a free agent at the end of the season and had been tracked by a number of Premier League sides, including West Ham, Everton, Crystal Palace and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Reading had hoped to retain Richards beyond his current £1,800-per-week contract, but felt it was impossible to table an enticing enough offer due to the EFL’s Profitability and Sustainability rules, per Sky Sports.
Had the Madejski Stadium natives reached an agreement with the 22-year-old dynamo, a senior club figure is said to believe Richards would have been worth in excess of £15m this summer – much more than his current TransferMarkt valuation of just £2m.
West Ham were claimed to have paid close attention to Richard’s situation ahead of the mid-season market as Reading considered parting ways rather than allowing his contract to run out, but no deal materialised.
Should West Ham have signed Richards?
Moyes will have to spend the coming months searching for alternative options to Richards if he is still keen to sign a new left-back to support Aaron Cresswell and Arthur Masuaku, with only an unexpected twist likely to see his move to Bayern Munich fall through.
It remains to be seen if Richards can cut it at the top in Germany having never played higher than the Championship so far, but is a firm regular at Reading this season with 24 starts in 26 of a possible 29 games and has impressed with his efforts.
In fact, Richards’ efforts at the Madejski this term are at a comparable level to those West Ham fans saw from Cresswell in Manuel Pellegrini’s only full season in charge, to leave the possibility of the Royals full-back coming on strong under Moyes if he had been signed.
Cresswell is now one of the stars of the show at the London Stadium, as no Irons player is currently offering more key passes a game in the Premier League than the 31-year-old (1.5) who further offers the highest number of accurate crosses (1.7) this term, per WhoScored.
He wasn’t as impressive during the 2018/19 campaign, with Cresswell only providing 0.9 key passes a game – only twice in his seven seasons at West Ham has he offered less – and only produced 0.8 accurate crosses.
Richards, meanwhile, is currently providing 0.5 key passes a game after a career-high 0.9 last season, as well as producing a career-high 0.6 accurate crosses a game, per WhoScored.
If Moyes had the chance to work with Richards and improve his game in the same way Cresswell has, West Ham could have struck a bargain in the January window but will now be left to rue the missed opportunity while the 22-year-old prepares to win trophies galore in Germany.
AND in other news, West Ham are willing to take a £19m hit to offload an £85k-p/w flop…