Sunderland’s Chris Rigg Stace Revealed As Major Interest Grows

Those close to Sunderland wonderkid Chris Rigg believe remaining at the Stadium of Light would be better for his development, according to the Sunderland Echo.

The 16-year-old midfielder is being monitored by a host of clubs around the continent, including Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United and Bayern Munich. He is considered a star in the making and became the Black Cats’ youngest ever outfield player when he made his debut as a late substitute in a FA Cup tie against Shrewsbury Town aged just 15.

Rigg signed a two-year scholarship at the club in July last year, despite rumours that several clubs were looking at snatching the youngster from their grasp. He has been rewarded with nine first team appearances this season, scoring his first goal for the club in August in the penalty shootout loss against Crewe Alexandra in the Carabao Cup.

Reports emerged earlier today that bitter rivals Newcastle United were now leading the race to secure his signature, although Sunderland Echo refute those claims. Furthermore, it is stated that those in the teenager’s camp believe that he would be better staying put for now as it would be best for his development.

However, much will depend on what first team opportunities he receives between now and the end of the season. He came off the bench in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Plymouth Argyle for his eighth Championship outing of the campaign and now that Sunderland’s youngsters have been knocked out of the FA Youth Cup, he would expect more time on the field with the first team.

Interestingly, Birmingham City have also been credited with speculative interest. The Blues are managed by former Sunderland boss Tony Mowbray, who gave Rigg his first taste of senior football last season. Speaking at the time, the 60-year-old said:

“He’s got a wonderful left foot and he is an incredibly competitive animal. It was really interesting for me to watch him – I have to say that the potential looks enormous.

“He looks like someone who is going to play with that silkiness with the passing on his left foot and he looks to have that tiger in him as well, he wants to tackle everyone. It’s not a bad mix for a midfielder.

“He’s a boy of 15, I don’t want to build him up too much other than to say that from what I’ve seen he warrants being around our squad.”

Rigg could be in the squad tonight as the Wearsiders travel to Huddersfield Town, where a win could send them back into the top six.

Writer’s View

The young midfielder this is seen as a player that has a huge future. Sunderland will be hoping that is at the Stadium of Light, although they are not naive and know they could be in for a huge windfall if other clubs come knocking.

With interest growing, it is imperative that the Black Cats try and keep him happy for the next couple of years. Any transfer now would see them receive compensation due to his age, although the fee is unlikely to be anywhere near what they would like to generate for a player of his capabilities. Michael Beale needs to be looking at given him more minutes over the next few months.

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