The 27-year-old caught former Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini???s eye while he was on loan from the 2014 Premier League champions to Italian side Fiorentina.
Mancini first made his interest in the defender known in January and he made an approach at the end of the season when the player became a free agent.
A lack of action during his temporary stay in Florence meant Richards??? preference was to return to England, however, and he signed a four-year deal at Villa Park instead.
The 13-cap England international said: ???Having not played so much at Fiorentina, I thought it was right to come home.
“I was speaking to Inter as well with Mancini. They tried to get me in January but that didn’t materialise. I spoke to him afterwards but I wanted to come back to England.
???I didn’t want to be out in Italy and then the manager gets sacked and I’m fighting for my place in the same situation. That’s one of the main reasons I chose to come back.???
Although Richards??? appearances at City were limited towards the end of his time with the club, he was offered a new deal to stay there.
He felt he had to pursue a fresh challenge instead and is adamant he has no hard feelings towards manager Manuel Pellegrini.
Richards added: ???I got on with him well. Everyone thinks that because he didn’t play me, I didn’t like him. I don’t think like that. He was a good manager.
???He came after Mancini and tried to settle the dressing room down a little bit because you know what Mancini was like, he had his heart on his sleeve.
“It was a shame Mancini didn’t even get more time because I think he could have done even better but Pellegrini sort of came in and spoke to the players a lot more.
???I got offered a four or five-year deal and the manager said to me: ???I want you to stay.’ I said: ???I???m not playing enough.??? It doesn’t matter how much money you are offered.
???I thought: ???I can’t keep doing this.??? As a player, especially in the Premier League, if you get offered (the chance) to play somewhere regularly, you have to take it.
???That’s me anyway ??? it’s the sort of person I am. I???m not going to stay on the bench or at home on the weekends just for more money.???