According to the Daily Mail, the Black Cats are eager to land another new defender before Monday night's transfer deadline and have reportedly made a move for Villa skipper Richards.
However, the Midlands club are not keen on selling a player that only arrived in the summer to a Premier League rival.
Former Manchester City defender Richards was named Villa captain after he arrived in June last year and Remi Garde is not interested in losing him, especially considering they sit at the foot of the table.
It is expected that Sam Allardyce will return with a fresh bid for the 27-year-old on Monday.
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