The Magpies have lined up the Manchester City defender as a replacement for France international Mathieu Debuchy, who is expected to leave St James' Park this summer.
Reports suggest Arsenal is leading the chase for Debuchy as the club looks to replace Bacary Sagna, who has signed for Manchester City, and moved Richards further down the pecking order at the Etihad Stadium.
Newcastle is the favorite to sign the 26-year-old and is willing to match his 70,000 pound-a-week wages.
PHOTOS: U.S. fan reactions | Beautiful people in Brazil
Newcastle chief scout Graham Carr has approved a move for the defender, with club owner Mike Ashley agreeing to finance the deal.
The 26-year-old's ability to play anywhere across the back four is an attractive prospect for manager Alan Pardew.
Newcastle is anticipating bids for Debuchy in the coming weeks, and sources have told Goal that the club expects him to move on if offers materialize.
Richards could become the club's fourth summer signing, with Ayoze Perez, Jack Colback and Siem de Jong having already moved to St James' Park.
Newcastle is also understood to be readying a move for Jack Rodwell and is waiting for Manuel Pellegrini to green light the midfielder's departure from the Etihad.
Goal understands almost half of the clubs in the Premier League have inquired about Rodwell in recent weeks.