Micah Richards
Micah Richards left Manchester City as a free agent.Getty

Aston Villa have confirmed they have signed Manchester City defender Micah Richards on a free transfer.

The 26-year-old was deemed surplus to requirements by Manuel Pellegrini as he spent the last season on-loan at Fiorentina. He struggled to get regular playing time in Italy as he started in just seven league games during the 2014/15 campaign.

Richards' contract at the Etihad expires on 30 June and City have not handed him a new deal, which allows him to leave the club on a free transfer. Villa signed the England international on a four-year deal and will make a switch to Villa Park on 1 July.

"Aston Villa Football Club is delighted to announce the signing of Micah Richards. The 26-year-old defender has agreed a four-year deal with the club and will join on a free transfer on July 1," a statement on Villa's official website read.

"Richards will arrive at Villa Park following the expiry of his contract with Manchester City after a one-year loan deal in Italy with Fiorentina."

Villa manager Tim Sherwood has expressed his delight after his side completed their first summer signing.

"I'm really pleased to get Micah on board and I'm sure he will prove to be an excellent signing for the football club," the former Tottenham manager said.

The defender came up through the ranks of City's youth set up and broke into the first team. He was the first choice player in the right-back position for Roberto Mancini during their title winning campaign in 2011/12.

Pablo Zabaleta replaced Richards after the latter suffered a long-term injury. Since then, the Argentine has cemented his place in City's starting lineup. In addition to this, the Chilean manager signed Bacary Sagna from Arsenal and his arrival saw Richards join Fiorentina on-loan last summer.