, both clubs have been alerted to the fact Richards might be available at a knock-down price, with £5 million being suggested.
Richards' form this season has been inconsistent and there are supposedly fears at Eastlands that he has lost his focus with so much transfer speculation surrounding the club.
City, who have been linked with moves for Thierry Henry, Didier Drogba, David Villa, David Silva, Gianluigi Buffon, Sergio Aguero, Iker Casillas, John Terry, Roque Santa Cruz and a host of others, currently sit in mid-table mediocrity, behind the likes of Fulham, Hull and Wigan.
An ill-fated £108m bid for AC Milan forward Kaka has not helped matters, while record signing Robinho appears to be unsettled.
The Brazilian moved from Real Madrid to City in the summer for £32.5m, but many now view it as a mistake.
Arrigo Sacchi, the man responsible for signing Robinho at Real, said: "He totally messed up, no-one can choose to leave Real Madrid in order to go to a club like Man City.
"A top player aged only 24 can never leave Real Madrid like he did and for those reasons.
"He obviously lost his head looking at all those figures and let the money dictate. It wasn't a footballing choice. And now, at City, he's lost the happiness that football gave him."
It is this supposed unrest at City, not just involving Robinho, that has prompted interest in Richards.
And while it is highly unlikely Mark Hughes will sanction Richards' departure to one of City's Premier League rivals, the club will need to allay the 20-year-old's fears that his first-team place is not under threat.