The 27-year-old, who spent last season on loan at Serie A side Fiorentina, was released by Manchester City after 10 years at the club.
Richards had been linked with a number of other Premier League sides including Sunderland, Liverpool and Newcastle – but he chose to sign for Tim Sherwood’s side on a four-year contract and the right-back is hoping to reignite his career in England.??
“It is a special feeling,” he told the club???s official website.??
“I scored my first goal against the club. I was born in Birmingham as well – on Dudley Road – so it’s nice to be back.
“There are some amazing facilities here – I didn’t know they were so good until I came here. I’m looking forward to the hard work and having a good season.
“I still feel I’ve got my best years ahead of me and I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully we can do something good this season.”
Losing FA Cup finalists Villa are keen to bolster their defensive options after conceding 57 league goals last season – a campaign which saw them escape relegation by only three points.
Richards says he???s been impressed with the impact of manager Sherwood at Villa Park.
“The new manager has come in and it is like a new lease of life and when I spoke to him there was only really one place I wanted to come,” added Richards.
“He mentioned what a massive club it was and what he is trying to do here.
“Since he has come in, the impact he has had has been amazing really.
“We got to the final of the FA Cup and he also got us out of trouble in the Premier League.
“Since he has come in, the team has been playing well and I’m just glad to be part of it now.”