American center-back Chris Richards has swapped Bavaria for the bright lights of London as he completed a permanent move from Bayern Munich to Crystal Palace on Wednesday, signing on to a five-year deal.
The move to England is another big step in the young career of the Alabama native as he made headlines in 2018 when he made the move on loan from FC Dallas to the perennial Bundesliga champions. Having impressed, they signed him permanently later on as he would go on to feature for Bayern’s reserve team.
With a few trophies collected and two successful loan spells at fellow Bundesliga side Hoffenheim on the resume, it was going to be a matter of time on what the Bavarians would do with the 22-year-old. With chances for significant playing time not guaranteed due to a stacked backline, the move made sense as he competes for a spot on the U.S. men’s national team roster for the World Cup in Qatar later this year.
After putting pen to paper on the transfer, Richards spoke of his excitement on making the move to England.
“I grew up watching the Premier League and grew up of course watching [Wilfried] Zaha, so it’ll be cool to spend some time on the field with them [the Palace players] and be a part of this historic club. I’m really excited for it,” he said in an interview on Crystal Palace’s website. “The kind of project I’ve seen [attracted me]. It’s a lot of young players but also young players who have a lot of fight. Palace is a club that seems like they’re always fighting.”
Richards comes to Crystal Palace at an exciting time as the club looks to build upon their 12th place finish last season under head coach Patrick Viera. And while he is stoked to get started, he’s aware that he’s not just going to walk into the starting eleven with the likes of Marc Guehi, Joachim Andersen, and James Tomkins competing against him for a spot on the backline.
“I know nothing’s going to be given to me but I’m going to give 100% every day,” he said in the interview. “I’ll show the trainer why I should be on the field. I know Palace had one of the best defenses last year and I just want to add to that.
“I’m a defender that likes to crack people: I like to be physical. I like to play out the back, try to bring calmness on the ball, off the ball, make the challenges that make opponents fear coming to our backline.
“I’m going to give 100% every day and hopefully help the team bring a lot of wins back to Selhurst Park.”
While the center-back tries to make a name for himself in the Premier League, he knows that his former teammates at Bayern Munich will be watching to see how he progresses.
“Chris Richards came to the FC Bayern Campus at the age of 18. He demonstrated his talent in his first year when he played for our reserves,” said the club’s sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic in a statement. “That’s why we signed him from FC Dallas, and Chris went on to develop really well on loan at Hoffenheim.”
“Now his big desire is to succeed in the Premier League. We wanted to make that possible and we wish him all the best at Crystal Palace.”
Richards could get his first minutes for Palace on Aug. 6 in their Premier League opener against London rivals Arsenal.