Manchester United target Sunderland rising star as part of Ratcliffe revamp

Chris Rigg is reportedly a target for Manchester United and Sunderland face a battle to keep the 16-year-old midfielder. Red Devils’ part-owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s interest in the teenager should not be viewed as a surprise given the impact the youngster has made since breaking into the first team at the Stadium of Light.

Ratcliffe, the owner of INEOS and fellow club OGC Nice, acquired a minority stake in Manchester United in February 2024 worth $1.65 billion. The 25 per cent shareholding comes with the ability to control the sporting direction of the club, which will culminate in a squad overhaul.

Rigg has not signed a professional contract in his career as the Black Cats have to wait until his 17th birthday to hand him one. The 2007-born star would bring much to Manchester United on a long-term contract. There’s plenty to like about his game, not least that he’s a threat from free-kicks and loves long-range striking of the ball.

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His signing at Old Trafford would see him join other up-and-coming youngsters such as Kobbie Mainoo and Willy Kambwala. Amad Diallo is another, and he scored a cracking goal in Man United’s 3-2 win against Newcastle on Wednesday night.

England youth international Rigg broke into the Sunderland first team in the 2023/24 campaign and has made a solid impression so far at the Stadium of Light. He played 21 matches in the campaign, which shows the trust in him from caretaker manager Mike Dodds.

From the right side of midfield, he scored two goals. His one appearance in the EFL Cup saw him break two records – the youngest goalscorer in Sunderland’s history and also the youngest goalscorer in League Cup history. He has captained the England U16 side too and was promoted to the U17s at aged 15.

For England U17s he took part in the 2023 FIFA U17 World Cup where he started in the opening game against Iran. Time will tell whether Rigg can be enticed away to United as the Premier League giants look to revamp a much-criticised club.

He would be a big loss to Sunderland and this is a nervous time for Black Cats’ fans as they wait to see which of their players will be leaving this summer, with no head coach at the club to help with any bargaining.