Chris Rigg: The Future of Liverpool and England’s Midfield
Liverpool are reportedly eyeing up a move for Sunderland midfielder Chris Rigg, according to reports from the Sunderland Echo. The 16-year-old is one of the hottest prospects in the country at the moment, and is likely to be a subject of interest from England’s elite in the near future.
The Reds are reportedly tipped to receive a head-start in the race for Rigg, but the Sunderland Echo are also suggesting that Manchester United, Chelsea and even Bayern Munich are in the race.
Who is Chris Rigg?
The teenager burst onto the scene as a 15-year-old last season, making his debut in Sunderland’s FA Cup Third Tie at Fulham. Rigg even managed to put his name on the scoresheet temporarily, with the linesman ruling that goal out as offside.
Rigg would eventually grab his first senior goal at the age of 16, in a 5-0 demolition of Southampton at the Stadium of Light, back in September. Since making his debut at Craven Cottage, the teenager has already racked up 11 senior appearances for the Black Cats.
Many of Sunderland’s supporters would suggest that he should be receiving more first-team minutes, but the Wearside club seem desperate not to rush his progression.
Contract Details Receiving Attention
Despite only signing a contract extension not long ago, Riggs deal at Sunderland is set to expire in June 2025. With just over a year left on his deal, the interest in the wonderkid has only grown in recent months.
The Black Cats have a number of players on the radar of top clubs, with Jack Clarke and Dan Neil linked regularly. Sunderland will undoubtedly be doing all they can to prevent an early departure from Rigg, but the ball could ultimately be in the teenager’s court.
As revealed by the Sunderland Echo, Rigg only signed a two-year scholarship deal on Wearside as he isn’t old enough to agree professional terms with any club, yet. Therefore leaving Rigg’s long-term future at the Stadium of Light in limbo.
Competition From Rivals
As mentioned above, Manchester United and Chelsea are also linked with a move for Rigg. However, Sunderland’s rivals Newcastle Untied have also held a long-standing interest in the teenager. Rigg’s family come from North Tyneside, but the chances of Rigg burning his bridges with the club that has made him remains highly unlikely.
The report also states that Rigg’s team will demand more first-team chances in the remainder of the 2023-24 season before any decision over his long-term future is decided.
Bags of Potential, but How Much Ability?
Admittedly, Rigg would likely struggle with an immediate step up to the Premier League at such a young age. However, we’ve all seen the brilliant work of Liverpool’s academy over recent years with the likes of Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott, Jarrell Quansah, Conor Bradley and Ben Doak.
No 15-year-old starts for a top-end Championship club in the FA Cup, unless they have plenty of ability. It’s also important to note that Rigg looked quite remarkable in that cameo against a strong Fulham side.
Clear Canvas to Work With
The most exciting part of signing a player like Chris Rigg, is that the head coach can transform him into whatever Liverpool needs. The 16-year-old features most regularly as a more advanced midfielder, almost like a number ten. However, he’s shown a lot of versatility that could be used to shape him into an eight or even a six.
We’ve previously seen Liverpool target young talents from other clubs in the past, with Elliott and Doak being the poster boys for that strategy. Both youngsters have made strides into Jurgen Klopp’s first-team, with Elliott already making 97 senior appearances for the Reds.
There could be a similar trick to be had with the pursuit of Chris Rigg, who is backed to become a crucial player for England’s National Team in the future as the current captain for the Under-18 squad.