It’s not very often that Bayern Munich scours the English Football Championship (EFL) for talent, but such was the case when the brought in Omar Richards from Reading FC last summer. He signed for a little over seven million euros on a contract that keeps him at Bayern until June 2025 to serve primarily as a backup left-back for Alphonso Davies, who wound up missing a good chunk of games through injury and his bout of myocarditis.
In total, Richards made 17 appearances across all competitions for Bayern this season, four of which were starts, while the rest were substitute appearances. He provided his lone assist of the season in Bayern’s 12-0 routing of Bremer SV in the first round of the DFB-Pokal as well.
Richards knew what his role was going to be when he joined Bayern. He knew that he was never going to be first choice left-back with the depth the club already had. Still, he was honored to have been signed by Bayern and in a recent interview, revealed that he worked diligently to learn German as a “matter of respect for the people and the country” (kicker). “Munich is a beautiful city. I come from south London, everything is different here. Everything is cleaner here, my life is easier,” the 24-year old explained.
Going from Reading FC to a star-studded squad was a bit of a culture shock for Richards, admittedly. “Yesterday, I was still in the second division of England and today I’m playing in front of 60,000 fans. It’s very crazy, but also really beautiful. All these people, all these names that I’d seen on TV and played with on FIFA would walk past me and give me high fives. And I was like, ‘What’s going on here? I need to be in a be a dream or something,” he said.
Back in February, Richards had recalled first learning of Bayern’s interest in him from his agent. At first, he described, he didn’t even believe his agent when he was told about said interest from the Rekordmeister. “Then my agent called and said that Bayern Munich were watching me, that they were interested, and I thought: what? That can not be true. I literally didn’t believe it until I had a zoom conversation with Bayern,” he recollected.
Richards’ future at Bayern is entirely open. His attitude this season has been positive for a player that didn’t get too many minutes, even when Davies was faced with a considerable spell on the sidelines. Julian Nagelsmann much preferred using Lucas Hernandez at left back for the Bundesliga and Champions League matches, so he didn’t help Richards’ case at all when Bayern was knocked out early of the DFB-Pokal by Borussia Monchengladbach. Noussair Mazaroui is also expected to soon officially become a Bayern player, transferring from AFC Ajax. He’s a right back by trade, but more depth in defense will only make Richards’ case tougher.