The People says Richards is sitting on a £14million contract offer from City, which was thrashed out by agent Jerome Anderson and his SEM organisation.
However, City and the SEM team have found out that the deal, which starts at £45,000 a week and rises over the next five seasons, has been rejected after Richards spoke to his dad about the terms.
Insiders reveal that the Richards camp think they could earn £4million a year if he moved or had another representative handling his affairs.
And there are now three rival agents trying to snap up Richards, 19, whose agreement with Anderson's firm runs out at the end of the year.
Richards is currently missing out on about £33,000 a week as he delays signing his new contract.
The figures reveal the value of England's most gifted teenager.
Richards is now in the £20million-plus class, but City's mega-rich owner Thaksin Shinawatra has no need to sell.