By George Overhill

19th Jul, 2022 | 7:40am

Leeds United defensive target Chris Richards close to joining Crystal Palace

Leeds United need to move extremely fast if they are to disrupt Crystal Palace signing Bayern Munich defender Chris Richards.

The Whites are one of a number of teams from England, Germany and France to be interested in the American this summer and CBS Journalist Ben Jacobs confirmed a week ago (12 July) that Jesse Marsch was still considering him.

With Junior Firpo ruled out for up to eight weeks with injury, and Stuart Dallas still a long-term absentee, United are looking for further help at the back and according to Jacobs the logic of the Richards interest was that he can play at full-back as well as his preferred centre-back.

But without an immediate move the Leeds boss will need to look elsewhere, as the 22-year-old looks set to arrive in the Premier League with Palace.

Sky Germany’s Florian Plettenberg reported on Monday (18 July): “News Chris Richards: He has a verbal agreement with Crystal Palace. The Bayern defender wants to join them. Now the clubs has to find an agreement. Negotiations ongoing.”

And Forbes journalist Manuel Veth has followed up on Tuesday with: “Chris Richards is not with Bayern on the US Tour. The USMNT central defender is currently trying to finalize a transfer to Premier League side Crystal Palace. Both sides still talking per source but a deal is becoming ever more likely.”

The American link is obvious but either Marsch is not completely sold on the need to bring in left-back help or he doesn’t believe Richards, who spent last season on loan at Hoffenheim, is adept enough to fill in there when it isn’t his favoured position.

It would be frustrating if he arrived at Selhurst Park and turned out to be a natural for the English top flight, especially as he is unlikely to be too costly.

The Whites have already picked up one Bayern player who was well down the pecking order for a modest fee in Marc Roca and there seems some sense in doing the same again, since even as a centre-back he could be a useful addition at the right price.

It currently looks like they will instead be facing off against Richards in the Premier League during the upcoming season, and without immediate action Marsch will have to hope he doesn’t end up regretting that.

In other Leeds United news, the club will make it very difficult for another league rival to poach a big-money signing from Elland Road.