Sunderland prodigy set for key talks as Newcastle United & Liverpool interest intensifies

Chris Rigg is a top target for Newcastle, according to reports.Chris Rigg is a top target for Newcastle, according to reports.
Chris Rigg is a top target for Newcastle, according to reports. | Getty Images
Sunderland’s Chris Rigg is a top target for the club's arch-rivals Newcastle - but the Magpies are likely to face plenty of competition for the youngster

England U18 sensation Chris Rigg wants to hold talks with the new Sunderland head coach before making a decision about his future on Wearside.

Rigg is regarded as one of the hottest prospects in the North East after a string of impressive performances for the Black Cats in the Championship at just 16 years of age.

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Reports from The Sun have previously stated that Rigg comes from a Newcastle United supporting family and it is claimed that the Magpies will try and use these links to their advantage this summer as Rigg decides where to sign his first professional contract.

Rigg is set to turn 17 later this month, which will mean he will be eligible to sign the first professional contract of his career.

Sunderland are determined to keep the youngster on board after a sensational breakout campaign which saw him feature 21 times in the Championship, including earning eight starts, and even contributed two goals - making him the club’s youngest ever league goal-scorer, and breaking the record that was held by Jimmy Hamilton for more than 50 years.

His performances have attracted attention from a host of clubs in top European leagues with Newcastle also facing competition from various elite teams including Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Bayern Munich.

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While he is free to sign for any club of his choice, a compensation fee will still need to be agreed with Sunderland, according to reporter Alan Nixon.

However, as his birthday looms (18 June), it is believed that no fee is close to being agreed. If no fee can be agreed then an independent tribunal will determine the size of any compensation to the Championship side, according to Football League World.

Regular game time is believed to be a key factor in Riggs’ decision making and if the youngster does arrive at Newcastle he would hope to follow in the footsteps of young stars such as Lewis Miley, Elliot Anderson and Alex Murphy, who have all been given chances to shine in the first team after coming through the academy.

In recent times, the club have also acquired the likes of Alfie Harrison, Cathal Heffernan and Gurang Kuol with a view to developing them into first team prospects in the near future.

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However, Rigg wants to at least get the chance to speak to the new manager of Sunderland about his decision, once an appointment has been made. The Championship side are still on the hunt for a long-term replacement for Michael Beale and recently missed out in their efforts to land Will Still, who instead opted to remain in France’s top division by joining RC Lens.

Rigg is viewed as a hot prospect in the England camp and has already captained the team at U15, U16, U17 aand U18 level. Last month he was a member of the Three Lions squad which reached the quarter-final of U17 European Championships in Greece, where he played alongside Newcastle defender Leo Shahar.

Rigg is believed to have a good bond with Shahar and was one of the first to congratulate him last month when he signed his first professional contract with Newcastle by commenting: “Love it.”

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