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The race to secure Chris Richards is heating up. A trio of Spanish clubs have expressed an interest in the highly rated American international who is also wanted by Southampton and Crystal Palace.

The two Premier League sides are leading the race, according to CBS Sports sources, but there is a growing expectation that they will face the strongest challenge from La Liga. Three teams in the division's top half, one of whom is understood to be Valencia, have expressed an interest in the Bayern Munich center-back. Clubs in France and Germany are also tracking the 22 year old.

Bayern are ready to sanction a permanent sale of Richards but only for a sizeable fee, believed to be around $15.8 million (€15 million). They are also discussing whether to include a buyback clause if they do agree to sell, sources say. Having brought him in from FC Dallas on an initial loan in 2018 before signing him permanently the following year for $1.5 million, the Bundesliga champions stand to make a sizeable profit on Richards, who made 10 senior appearances for the club.

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Richards spent last season on loan at Hoffenheim, playing in all bar three of the Bundesliga matches for which he was available as he battled foot and hamstring injuries. A permanent move away from Bayern will aid his attempts to win a squad place and starting berth in Gregg Berhalter's plans for the winter World Cup. Since making his debut in 2020 Richards has won 10 caps but missed the most recent international break with injury.

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl is keen to strengthen a defense that conceded 67 goals last season, and while there are not quite the same structural issues at Crystal Palace, manager Patrick Vieira has spoken of his desire to have a more versatile squad next season, which could see Richards fit into a back three alongside Joachim Andersen and Marc Guehi. Valencia, meanwhile, have long been admirers of the US international and previously expressed interest in a loan move in 2020.