The Magpies' "football director" made the informal inquiry with a view to launching a bid for the England international in January, according to The Sun.
The 25-year-old is behind Pablo Zabaleta in City’s pecking order and has not looked like featuring regularly since Manuel Pellegrini took charge.
He has two years left to run on his current contract but is refusing to commit to an extension without guarantees about his role in the squad.
The 25-year-old has yet to sign a new deal at City and is seeking assurances from Manuel Pellegrini over his role before committing to the club long-term.
He is said to be happy to be backup to Zabaleta as long as he is regularly used in rotation. That hasn’t been the case so far this season.
City’s asking price of £15m deterred potential suitors over the summer, but Newcastle want to know the club’s longer term plan for Richards.
The Toon want to improve their shaky defence but £15m is well over the price Mike Ashley is willing to pay, and that's before United starting talking about Richards' wages - suposedly £80,000 per week!
PREMIER LEAGUE NEWS ...
Sky Sports and BT Sport have announced their live Barclays Premier League matches for December and the New Year.
Sky Sports matches:
Sat 7: Sunderland v Tottenham (ko 5.30pm)
Sun 8: Fulham v Aston Villa (ko 1.30pm)
Sun 8: Arsenal v Everton (ko 4pm)
Mon 9: Swansea v Hull (ko 8pm)
Sat 14: Hull City v Stoke City (ko 5.30pm)
Sun 15: Aston Villa v Manchester United (ko 1.30pm)
Sun 15: Tottenham v Liverpool (ko 4pm)
Sun 22: Southampton v Tottenham (ko 1.30pm)
Sun 22: Swansea v Everton (ko 4pm)
Mon 23: Arsenal v Chelsea (ko 8pm)
Thu 26: Hull v Manchester United (ko 12.45pm)
Sat 28: West Ham v West Brom (ko 12.45pm)
Sat 28: Cardiff v Sunderland (ko 5.30pm)
Sun 29: Newcastle v Arsenal (ko 1.30pm)
Sun 29: Chelsea v Liverpool (ko 4pm)
Wed Jan 1: Swansea v Manchester City (ko 12.45pm)
BT Sport matches:
Tue 3: Crystal Palace v West Ham (ko 8pm)
Wed 4: Swansea v Newcastle (ko 7.45pm)
Sat 7: Manchester United v Newcastle (ko 12.45pm)
Sat 14: Manchester City v Arsenal (ko 12.45pm)
Sat 21: Liverpool v Cardiff (ko 12.45pm)
Thu 26: West Ham v Arsenal (ko 3pm)
Thu 26: Manchester City v Liverpool (ko 5.30pm)
Wed Jan 1 Southampton v Chelsea (ko 3pm)
Wed Jan 1: Manchester United v Tottenham (ko 5.30pm)
NU-MAD - WE TELL IT AS IT IS!
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NEWCASTLE UNITED 2013/14
CARDIFF CITY 1 NEWCASTLE 2 (Remy 2)
Krul, Debuchy, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon, Tiote, Cabaye (86' Ben Arfa), Gouffran, Sissoko, Remy (71' Gutierrez), Cisse
Subs: Anita, Yanga-Mbiwa, Elliot, Sammy Ameobi, Dummett
EVERTON 3 NEWCASTLE 2 (Cabaye, Remy)
Krul, Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa (46' Williamson), Coloccini, Santon, Tiote, Anita (69' Cisse), Ben Arfa (46' Cabaye), Sissoko, Gouffran, Remy
Subs: Elliot, Obertan, Sammy Ameobi, Dummett
NEWCASTLE 2 HULL CITY 3 (Remy 2)
Krul, Debuchy (86' Tiote), Yanga-Mbiwa, Coloccini, Santon, Cabaye (62' Gouffran), Anita, Sissoko, Ben Arfa, Cisse (73' Marveaux), Remy
Subs: Williamson, Elliot, Sammy Ameobi, Dummett
ASTON VILLA 1 NEWCASTLE 2 (Ben Arfra, Gouffran)
Krul, Debuchy, Coloccini, Yanga-Mbiwa, Santon, Anita (74' Tiote), Cabaye (88' Sammy Ameobi), Ben Arfa, Sissoko, Remy (63' Gouffran), Cisse
Subs: Elliot, Marveaux, S Taylor, Dummett
NEWCASTLE 1 FULHAM 0 (Ben Arfa)
Krul, Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa, Coloccini, Santon, Ben Arfa, Sissoko, Anita 65' (Cabaye), Marveaux 74' (Remy), Shola Ameobi 65' (Gouffran), Cisse
Subs: Gosling, Elliot, Sammy Ameobi, Dummett
NEWCASTLE 0 WEST HAM 0
Krul, Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa, Coloccini, Santon, Ben Arfa, Sissoko, Anita, Marveaux 66' (Sammy Ameobi), Shola Ameobi, Cisse 72'
Subs: Gosling, Bigirimana, Elliot, Vuckic, Dummett
MAN CITY 4 NEWCASTLE 0
Krul, Debuchy, Coloccini, S Taylor, Yanga-Mbiwa, Sissoko, Tiote, Gouffran 45+4' (Dummett), Ben Arfa 65' (Sammy Ameobi), Gutierrez 44' (Anita), Cisse
Subs: Elliot, Marveaux, Shola Ameobi, Obertan
NEWCASTLE 2 LEEDS UTD 0 (Cisse, Gouffran)
Krul, Debuchy, Williamson, Coloccini, Dummett, Gouffran (90' Vuckic), Anita (80' Gosling), Tiote, Marveaux, Sammy Ameobi, Cisse (71' Obertan).
Subs: Ben Arfa, Yanga-Mbiwa, Bigirimana, Alnwick
MORECAMBE 0 NEWCASTLE 2 (Shola Ameobi, Sammy Ameobi)
Elliot, Debuchy, Yanga-Mbiwa, Good, Dummett, Bigirimana, Gosling, Marveaux 88' (Sissoko), Vuckic 46' (Shola Ameobi), Sammy Ameobi, Gouffran 71' (Ben Arfa)
Subs: Santon, Anita, Alnwick, Streete
Newcastle United Fixtures
Saturday October 19
12:45 Premier League
Newcastle United v Liverpool
Sunday October 27
13:30 Premier League
Sunderland v Newcastle United
Wednesday October 30
19:45 League Cup - 4th Rnd
Newcastle United v Manchester City
Saturday November 2
12:45 Premier League
Newcastle United v Chelsea
Sunday November 10
12:00 Premier League
Tottenham v Newcastle United