Thursday brought fresh rumours that Newcastle are close to signing Manchester City defender Micah Richards. A £4.2m fee has been mooted for the former England international but neither club has commented on the rumour. Alan Pardew has said this week that there is scope for more signings if the right players become available and another striker may be at the top of his priority list. However, the knockdown price for Richards may tempt him into making a move for the versatile defender, who can play at centre-back or right-back. If Richards was to arrive it may signal the end for Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, who has failed to live up to his near £7m price tag since arriving from Montpellier. The Frenchman is one of the Club’s top earners but not a regular starter. Newcastle’s Premier League season kicks off this Sunday when they take on Richards’ Man City side at St James’ Park.