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Sunderland’s promising young talent has caught the attention of top clubs such as Bayern Munich, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Manchester United, as they closely monitor his contract situation this summer…



Sunderland’s rising star, Chris Rigg, has caught the attention of top clubs such as Bayern Munich, Liverpool, Chelsea, and Manchester United, who are all vying for his signature in the upcoming transfer window. Rigg’s exceptional talent and potential have made him a sought-after prospect in the football world.


However, despite the clear interest from these clubs, there are still uncertainties surrounding Rigg’s future at Sunderland. While the club has outlined a plan for the young attacking midfielder, his contract situation and the decisions made by the Academy of Light remain crucial factors in determining his next move.


Regrettably, it seems that the interest in Rigg extends beyond just one or two clubs. The Echo has learned that Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United, and Liverpool are all keen on securing his services. This widespread interest only adds to the complexity of Rigg’s situation and the decisions that lie ahead.


It is evident that there is significant interest in Chris Rigg from various clubs in England and on the continent. Even Birmingham City, now managed by Tony Mowbray, who gave Rigg his debut as a 15-year-old, has expressed interest. Despite this, Rigg is still at Sunderland. Last summer, he signed a two-year scholarship deal with the club, which was considered a great achievement given the attention he received from top-level clubs.


Since Rigg is only 16, he is not yet eligible to sign professional terms and could potentially move to another club if both parties agree on a fee. If Rigg were to leave at the end of his scholarship deal, Sunderland would be compensated through a tribunal. However, Rigg chose to stay at Sunderland’s Academy of Light because he was convinced by the pathway the club offers. The club has a track record of developing young talents, such as Dan Neil and Anthony Patterson, who have gained valuable experience through regular playing time.


Another example is Jobe Bellingham, who joined Sunderland at 17 and has already made numerous appearances for the club. Rigg aspires to follow in the footsteps of these players, which is why he has decided to remain at Sunderland despite tempting offers from elsewhere.


What steps should Sunderland take to retain the services of Chris Rigg?

Sunderland must continue to handle Rigg’s development with caution, considering his young age of only 16. Despite his impressive debut at the age of 15 in the FA Cup against Shrewsbury Town, followed by two more appearances against Premier League side Fulham, the club should avoid rushing his progress.


In the current season, Rigg has already made eight appearances across various competitions, showcasing his talent by scoring goals in both the Carabao Cup and Championship. To ensure his long-term commitment, Sunderland should provide him with regular opportunities to play for the first team, allowing him to prove himself and fulfill his ambitions of captaining the club in the future.


There is a growing belief among Wearside supporters that in order to retain Rigg, Sunderland will need to increase his number of league appearances during the latter half of the 2023-24 season. Essentially, to keep Rigg at Sunderland, Michael Beale will have to grant him opportunities in the first team, taking inspiration from the successes of Jobe, Neil, and Patterson. It should be noted that Rigg’s appearances were limited in the first part of the season due to his involvement in England’s youth World Cup campaign in Indonesia.


Rigg has been actively participating in the FA Youth Cup for Sunderland’s under-18 team under the guidance of Jordan Moore and Fin Lynch. His dedication and performances have received praise.


However, The Echo has learned that following the Black Cats’ elimination in the fifth round against Swindon Town, Rigg was informed that he would no longer feature for the under-18s. This decision reflects Sunderland’s intention to further propel the player’s development. Rigg was unable to join Beale’s squad for the Championship match against Middlesbrough last Sunday as he had already played in the cup on Friday.


Turning 17 in June, Rigg will become eligible to sign professional terms with any club of his choosing. While there is a verbal agreement in place with Sunderland, the deal has yet to be officially signed, meaning Rigg is not yet a professional player at the club and could be enticed elsewhere.


Consequently, the next four months will be crucial in convincing Rigg to continue his development at the Academy of Light beyond the age of 17. Sunderland will need to demonstrate their commitment by providing him with first-team opportunities and playing time, or else they risk losing a highly talented individual.


Michael Beale has expressed his thoughts on Chris Rigg during an interview following Sunderland’s 1-1 draw against Middlesbrough. Beale commended Rigg’s performance when he came on as a substitute against Stoke. Despite missing out on the weekend’s match due to his involvement in the FA Youth Cup, Rigg showcased his desire to be actively involved in the team rather than settling for a minor role.


Beale emphasized that age should not be a determining factor, as they believe in the young player’s talent. He mentioned that Rigg’s increased involvement was expected in the second half of the season, but it would depend on various factors such as fitness and form. Beale praised Rigg’s fearless mentality and highlighted the importance of his left-footedness in providing balance to the team’s possession-based style of play.


Following Sunderland’s 3-1 victory over Stoke City at the Stadium of Light a fortnight ago, Michael Beale discussed the team’s strategy for Chris Rigg after he was brought on as a substitute in the second half.


Riggy has been diligently training with our team every day. Ben Crompton has also been a part of our training sessions. Tommy Watson has been actively involved as well. I am extremely pleased with the talented players that are emerging from our system, and this includes Chris. Chris is a skilled left-footed midfielder who possesses great tenacity, goal-scoring ability, and exceptional passing skills. He gives his all on the field.


Furthermore, Chris is still very young, so we need to handle his development carefully. However, I believe he deserved the playing time he received today, and you can expect to see much more of him throughout the remainder of the season. That is certain.