Journalist Liam Kennedy has claimed Sunderland youngster Chris Rigg may have only been handed his debut to help rise value amid transfer speculation.
In their latest fixture, the Black Cats took on Shrewsbury Town in the FA Cup. In the 81st minute of the game, the 15-year-old became the club’s second-youngest player ever when he replaced Edouard Michut.
It’s clear the player is highly rated, which is why he’s even involved in the first team at such a young age and that talent seems to have drawn attention from a local rival.
Speaking on NUFC Matters, however, Kennedy suggested that the teenager may have been handed his debut just to add some extra value to his name.
He said (59:09): “All I would say is, the cynic in me, saw him come on on Saturday and thought Sunderland are definitely trying to put a few pound signs on that deal when Newcastle go in for him in the summer.”
With Rigg and his family said to be ‘huge fans’ of Newcastle, it’s no shock to hear that he is most likely to prefer a move to the Magpies despite the rivalry between them and Sunderland.
However, the Blacks Cats will likely know this too and if they really do feel as though the talent is destined to leave they will want to squeeze every penny out of him.
After his debut, manager Tony Mowbray told BBC Radio Newcastle: “He was put on the pitch because he deserves to be on the pitch,” Mowbray told BBC Radio Newcastle.” Although he admitted injuries also played a part.
Despite that, it’s not hard to see why a cynic would think this could also be partly to do with a transfer fee. After all, even if Rigg was to leave on a free, as he is under the age of 24, Sunderland would be due compensation from Newcastle.
No doubt, the Professional Football Compensation Committee would come to a higher figure now, based on the fact that he has played for the Black Cats at senior level already.
It will certainly be interesting to see how this all plays out.