Sunderland will hope to keep hold of their best young players as they hopefully make a charge for promotion, but a concerning exit rumour has now emerged regarding one of their prized assets.
Who are Sunderland’s key players?
The Black Cats have made a solid start to their Championship campaign, as they look to go one better than last season and get into the playoff positions in 2023/24.
For that to happen, Sunderland will need their key players to remain available and be at their best throughout the coming months, with a number of individuals standing out for them. That includes the likes of Jobe Bellingham and Jack Clarke, both of whom have already scored twice in the league this season.
Another player who has burst onto the scene is 16-year-old prodigy Chris Rigg, who became the youngest goalscorer in the history of the EFL Cup when he scored against Crewe Alexandra last month. He has netted twice in his first five appearances for the first team and big things are expected of him.
Will Chris Rigg leave Sunderland?
Speaking to Give Me Sport, however, journalist Ben Jacobs claimed that Sunderland’s biggest rivals Newcastle are keen on signing Rigg in the January transfer window, as are fellow Champions League club Manchester United:
“It’s one to watch, for sure. Even though he is at Sunderland, a vast proportion of his family are all Newcastle fans as well. I think that one could be one to watch in January. Newcastle are concurrently planning for their future as well as the present.
“Garang Kuol is a good example and so is Harrison Ashby, who West Ham simply didn’t want to lose. Newcastle have made a few moves for young players in the market and beaten rivals to them. Rigg is seen as one of the top midfield prospects in the country and he is also only 16 years of age at the moment. He scored against Southampton last weekend. When he got that goal, he also became Sunderland’s youngest ever league scorer.
“But he needs minutes and time to develop as well, so the player side won’t want to rush into anything. However, there’s absolutely no doubt that Newcastle are keeping tabs, and I would say that is exactly the same for Manchester United as well.”
It goes without saying that losing Rigg to Newcastle – or United for that matter – would be an extremely bitter pill to swallow for Sunderland, considering the fierce rivalry that exists between the two clubs.
It is already hard enough for Black Cats supporters to see the Magpies enjoying success in the Premier League, not to mention being one of the richest clubs in the country, and to witness one of the most exciting young talents head to St James’ Park would be awful.
Sunderland must do all they can to retain Rigg’s services, such is his potential – Luke O’Nien has said he has made his older teammates “look silly” with his ability in training – but the lure of Newcastle could be too good to turn down for the teenage midfielder.