Manchester United and Newcastle United both plotted a move for Sunderland teenager Chris Rigg in the recent transfer window, according to iNews.
Rigg, an England Under 17 star, is a midfielder who has been likened to Jordan Henderson. The former Liverpool man came through the Blacks Cats’ academy, and it seems the Premier League giants are keen on adding what could be another future England captain to their ranks.
Rigg has already made headlines by becoming the second youngest player in Sunderland history when he came on against Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup in January. That earned him a promotion to the first team, where he’s made further waves this season.
Firstly, he played and scored against Crewe in the League Cup. That made him the youngest scorer in the competition’s history, as well as Sunderland’s youngest scorer. He then came on in the 82nd minute of their league game against Southampton, bagging their fifth goal and announcing his arrival on the national stage.
“Listen, he’s a wonderful talent, and he’ll be on the bench just about every game this season; he will get game-time,” Black Cats manager Tony Mowbray told iNews recently. “The rawness of him, he doesn’t respect anybody, he tackles anybody, smashes into them. He dribbles, and he wants to get behind the opposition line.”
That all-action nature has alerted the Premier League clubs, who were both credited with interest in the recent window. However, with the teenager now getting first-team exposure, Sunderland were able to hold off the potential suitors, for now.
Whether they’ll be back in January is another question altogether.
Rigg has exploded onto the scene this season, and there’s no doubt now the Black Cat is out of the bag. These are crucial times in his development as the spotlight shifts onto him. Many players have become blinded by attention from Premier League clubs; could this happen to Rigg?
I feel it is unlikely to phase him. Manchester United are a huge club, Newcastle is a big club, but we must not forget Sunderland are a serious prospect as well. Just because they’ve been out of the top flight for a few years shouldn’t blur the interpretation of their size – they’re a Premier League club in waiting with a huge fanbase and a great setup.
No longer are they the joke club that let the likes of Josh Maja and Joel Osoro slip through their fingers. They feel like a team on the up, and whilst they’re winning games and Rigg is featured, his development is best served by staying put.