Aston Villa have signed Manchester City right-back Micah Richards on a free transfer. The 26-year-old, who has 13 England caps, has agreed a four-year deal and will move to Villa Park on 1 July after his contract with City expires. Richards was a key member of City’s Premier League-winning side of 2011-12 but found his chances limited under manager Manuel Pellegrini. He spent last season on loan with Serie A side Fiorentina. Richards is Villa’s first signing of the summer, delighting manager Tim Sherwood, who said: “I’m sure he will prove to be an excellent signing for the football club.” He joined City as a 14-year-old from Oldham and made his Premier League debut in October 2005. A year later aged 18, he became the youngest defender ever to be called up to the England squad. Richards made almost 250 appearances for City. He won the FA Cup with the Blues in 2011 and a second Premier League title in 2013-14, although he only made two league appearances in that season.
A Spanish court has agreed to allow a fraud case against Barcelona’s Brazilian star Neymar, weeks after the club itself was ordered to stand trial. He was signed by Barcelona in 2013 for a reported €57m ($65m; £41m) and helped the club to success in this season’s Champions League and La Liga. But the courts believe the real price paid by Barcelona was far higher. A Brazilian investment firm which owned 40% of his transfer rights argues it was defrauded out of millions of euros. Barcelona’s president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, his predecessor, Sandro Rosell, as well as Neymar’s father and his former club Santos have been named in the complaint by the company, DIS. Investigators allege that Barcelona paid €83.3m for Neymar, but declared only €57.1m. A judge ruled last month that the initial case, which centres on allegations that the club tried to mislead tax authorities, should be heard by a court in Barcelona rather than in the National Court in Madrid. That case is already being challenged by the club, its president and former president. As part of the latest investigation, the court said several European clubs had been asked for details of bids they had made for Neymar between 2009 and 2013, while he was at Santos. The clubs named included Manchester City, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. The allegations surrounding Neymar’s move to Barcelona prompted Sandro Rosell to resign as president in January last year.