Micah Richards
Micah Richards has less than six months left on his Manchester City contract. Reuters

Chelsea are preparing a move in signing Manchester City defender Micah Richards at the end of the season, according to the Guardian.

The England international's contract at the Etihad runs down at the end of the season and the Premier League champions have not handed their player a new deal to extend his stay. He has seen his first team appearances being limited as he lost his place in the starting XI to Pablo Zabaleta.

Lack of playing time and the arrival of Bacary Sagna from Arsenal on a free transfer last summer forced Manuel Pellegrini to let Richards leave the club on loan. The right-back is currently on a season-long loan at Fiorentina.

The 26-year-old can sign a pre-contract agreement with an overseas club and has already been offered a long term deal to continue at Fiorentina beyond this season.

Jose Mourinho is planning to land Richards on a free transfer later in the summer as he looks to strengthen his right-back position. The west London club currently have the services of Branislav Ivanovic as the first choice player in the right-back position.

The Portuguese tactician is an admirer of Richards and wanted to sign him for Chelsea and also for Real Madrid, while he was in charge of the club. However, the English defender continued at the Etihad, after graduating from their academy.

Any move for Richards was regular under Roberto Mancini's title-winning side in 2011. The Italian manager recently rejoined Inter Milan and he could give Chelsea a tough competition in signing the City defender.

Meanwhile, Liverpool are also believed to be interested in securing a deal for Richards as Glen Johnson is likely to leave Anfield on a free transfer, once his contract expires at the end of the season.

Brendan Rodgers will be in search of a right-back in the summer window and could make an approach for Richards after the end of the season.