Transfer news: The excitement, confusion and disappointment of a deadline day deal - Micah Richards

Match of the Day

Micah Richards is on BBC Radio 5 Live's transfer deadline day show with Steve Crossman, Jermaine Jenas and Kevin Nolan, with news of all the latest deals from 19:00-22.00 GMT on Friday. Micah will be doing a Twitter Q&A with BBC Sport at 19:30 GMT - send your questions to #bbcdeadlineday

When I woke up on deadline day morning in August 2014, I knew I was going to Italy. I just didn't know if I would be coming straight back.

I'd found out my loan move from Manchester City to Fiorentina was on the cards two days earlier. Eduardo Macia, who had tried to get me to Liverpool a couple of seasons before, was their sporting director and he asked me if I fancied coming over.

But on the morning of deadline day, I had to go to Florence for a medical, and with the injury history I had with my knee, we didn't know if we could get it done in a day.

I got a flight over around 6am and my medical took around nine or 10 hours. What happens in a 10-hour medical? Well, Fiorentina did a lot of tests. Then I had to do some running on a treadmill and have various scans - and then they had a couple of doctors look at the results.

It was extremely thorough. As well as my knee, something came up with my hip as well - and I had never had any problems there, so that was news to me.

Then there was a lot of going back and forth between Fiorentina and City's doctor, Dr Max Sala. All the time the clock is ticking, the paperwork still needs to be sorted and right the way through I thought the move was not going to happen.

In the end, we made it. Just. Fiorentina accepted I had problems with my knee but they were willing to go through with the transfer because it was a loan, and it was not as if they were giving me a five-year deal.

Micah Richards
Richards joined Fiorentina in 2014 on a season-long loan for a fee of £3.5m, which would have risen to £4.7m if they had made the move permanent. At the time he left City, aged 26, he was the club's longest-serving player

Doing my research on Fiorentina

Moving to Italy was exciting, but sad at the same time. I had never really wanted to leave City because they were my club and I loved them so much, they were like a family to me - but at the same time I wanted to play and I had to do what was right for my career.

My contract with City was set to end in 2015 and they had offered me a new deal earlier that summer, but I knew I was back-up to Pablo Zabaleta at right-back, who was firmly number one choice.

Manuel Pellegrini basically said: 'You either sign a new deal, or you go.' I said: 'I love the fact you want to tie me down but I know that I won't play unless Zabaleta gets injured so I can't do it. I can't be a bit-part player, because I have played first-team football all my life.'

So Pellegrini said 'no problem' and told me he was going to sign Bacary Sagna. That meant City had three right-backs, so I had to go.

That left me most of the summer to find a new club and I was supposed to join Tottenham, but City decided they did not want to sell me to them because they were a rival.

There was some other interest from other Premier League sides but no-one came in with an offer - until Macia got in touch.

Micah Richards was pictured by Fiorentina's Twitter account after his arrival in Florence to finalise his move
Micah Richards was pictured by Fiorentina's Twitter account after his arrival in Florence to finalise his move

I knew a little bit about Fiorentina as a club because of Gabriel Batistuta, who was a superstar for them when I was a kid.

They had just finished fourth in Serie A and had a good run in the Europa League but I didn't know much about their current squad so, as you do, I did a bit of research for myself.

I saw they had Marko Marin, who had just joined on loan from Chelsea. They also had Mario Gomez, Joaquin and Juan Cuadrado - all top players. Mohamed Salah was rumoured to be joining them as well, and eventually arrived in January.

I remember looking down their team-sheet and thinking 'wow, this team is actually unbelievable - I am definitely going'.

I had to make my mind up quickly but, looking back, it was the right decision. My time with Fiorentina was a brilliant experience, on and off the pitch, so I have no regrets at all.

Deadline-day confusion - and disappointment

Roberto Mancini and Micah Richards during their time together at Manchester City
Mancini and Richards won the Premier League together at Manchester City in 2012

The following deadline day, in January 2015, I was almost on the move again - but this time the move did not happen.

My old boss at Manchester City, Roberto Mancini, was in charge of Inter Milan. He had always looked out for me and had asked the Fiorentina manager, Vincenzo Montella, how I was doing.

At the start of 2015, Fiorentina wanted to sign me permanently but I wasn't in the team at that stage - they had switched to a three-man defence - and I wanted to keep my options open.

Then Mancini came in for me, and asked me if I wanted to go to Inter - on another loan but with an option to sign permanently if I wanted to. This time it would me my choice whether I stayed on, not the club's.

It all sounded great, but there was a bit of confusion over whether the move could go through.

Because I had played for City in the Community Shield in August before I joined Fiorentina, it was not clear whether I could play for a third team in the same season.

That is what Mancini told me, anyway, when they were trying to get the deal done. There might have been a communication error there, though.

Micah Richards playing in the 2014 Community Shield
Richards came off the bench to replace Aleksandar Kolarov for the final 14 minutes of the 2014 Community Shield, which City lost 3-0 against Arsenal

The Community Shield is officially a friendly so I was actually eligible to play for Inter too - but on deadline day clubs might not have enough time to check everything out properly, and they could not take the risk that I would not be able to play.

It was a shame, because I really wanted to go. Obviously I knew that Mancini loved me, and how good Inter were as a club, but it did not materialise in the end.

That was not the only time I saw a deadline day move fall through at the last minute.

In August 2016, West Ham were going to take me on loan from Aston Villa, who had just been relegated from the Premier League. The clubs had agreed a fee and, if I played a certain amount of games, they would take me on a permanent deal as well.

I got the call and went to see Villa's chief executive Keith Wyness in his office. I was suited and booted and was ready to go down to London for my medical, but it never got that far.

Keith told me the deal was off. He said I was too vital to the team in the dressing room, and said: 'I know your situation with your knee. You are not going to start for us, but we want you as a back-up centre-half.'

It is at times like that you realise that there are some decisions in your career that are not yours to take, but I was not as disappointed about that as when the Inter move fell through.

A lot of the other players were staying at Villa as well and the talk was about going straight back up, so I was thinking 'you know what, let's do this together'.

Unfortunately my knee had other ideas.

Micah Richards was speaking to BBC Sport's Chris Bevan.

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