And if City decide to offload the versatile defender, then United are ready to bid for him.
Old Trafford boss Sir Alex Ferguson is a huge admirer of Richards and tried to sign him when he first broke on the scene.
Ferguson is considering his options at right-back with growing concerns about Gary Neville’s fitness and Rafael Da Silva’s ability.
Ferguson believes his strict man-management could control Richards and United are hoping to do business if City will sell to them.
So this comes days after Hughes publicly stated Richards was not for sale; and then recalls him to the side.
Even if he was to give up on him and ship him out of the club, would a move to United really be sanctioned?
No prizes for the answer.