"He is different," said Eriksson of the 19-year-old with a boxer's build and an athlete's speed. "I've had very good defenders; Alessandro Nesta at 20. But Richards is stronger than anyone I've ever had; he certainly jumps higher. He is faster than anyone. It sends a very strong message. If he were on the open market, a lot of the best clubs in Europe would take him, but we can now say no."
Richards' contract does not make him the best-paid player at City, just their best-paid teenager. His wages are believed to be around £55,000 per week, nearly four times his previous salary. Newcastle were offering him a deal worth £70,000.