Micah Richards
Micah Richards in a rare outing for City against West Ham UnitedReuters

Micah Richards turned down an offer to play for West Ham United on transfer deadline day in order to try his luck in Serie A with Fiorentina.

The 26-year-old joined La Viola on a season-long loan deal with the option to buy on the final day of the transfer window after being frozen out of the Manchester City side in recent years.

After 12 years at the club, Richards left the Etihad as City's longest-serving player but was not interested in a move to another Premier League side, despite interest from the Hammers and Newcastle United.

"I wanted to play abroad, and at an ambitious club like Fiorentina, which is why I said no to West Ham," Richards said, ESPN report. "For me, Fiorentina will be a great experience because I have always liked adventure.

"I have always watched the Premier League and one thing I can say is that the pace is lower in Italy as compared to England, but the teams here give more importance to the tactical aspect and this is something I want to work and improve [on] a lot."

Richards' first-team opportunities dwindled in recent years due to a combination of a long-term knee injury he suffered in October 2012 and City's ever-expanding squad. This summer saw the arrival of Bacary Sagna from Arsenal, which further restricted his opportunities under Manuel Pellegrini.

"I have been a player 12 years at City. In the past year, 18 months, I have not played as much. As you know, I had a serious knee injury. When I returned, [Pablo] Zabaleta had taken over my starting spot. It was frustrating to stay on the sidelines. Zabaleta has played very well in recent years," Richards said.

"With Roberto Mancini there was a lot of rotation with the full-backs, while with the new coach [Pellegrini] there was less space and for this reason I decided to leave."

Richards' move to Italy saw the defender quizzed on his infamous training ground brawl with Mario Balotelli in December 2011. The two had to be separated by their City teammates after their disagreement but Richards insists there is no problem between him and the Liverpool striker.

"We were playing in a five-a-side match and our team was losing because his man was always scoring," Richards said.

"So I said to Mario: 'You have to run'. He said something in Italian that wasn't so nice and we had a bit of an argument, but after that it was finished. We are good friends in England."