Chris Rigg has signed his first professional contract with Sunderland by putting pen-to-paper on a three-year deal at the Stadium of Light.

The highly coveted midfielder has committed his long-term future to Sunderland after months of speculation surrounding his future amid significant interest from a number of top-flight clubs including Manchester United, who were keen on bringing in the 17-year-old as part of Sir Jim Ratcliffe's new regime at Old Trafford. 

Rigg, who made made his senior debut for Sunderland in the FA Cup third round tie with Shrewsbury Town in 2023, became the club's youngest ever goalscorer when registering his first goal for the club in last season's League Cup first round tie with Crewe Alexandra. The midfielder went on to add his first ever league goal for the club in the 5-0 win over Southampton last September, on his way to establishing himself as a first team regular in the second half of last season.

After several substitute appearances, Rigg was handed his first full start in the Championship by interim head coach Mike Dodds for the visit of Leicester City to the Stadium of Light - one of eight starts as he quickly became one of the shining lights in an otherwise low-key end to the season. 


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Rigg's impact alerted the attention of several clubs across Europe while Sunderland retained hope of securing the talented teenager on a long-term deal. Concerns were raised when talks stalled early last month, with Rigg keen to await the appointment of a new head coach, with Frenchman Régis Le Bris eventually named as Michael Beale's permanent successor. 

Le Bris has held talks with Rigg since arriving on Wearside and the those talks have advanced, with Rigg now committing his long-term future to the club with a three-year deal to hand Sunderland a major boost ahead of the new Championship season. 

“I am absolutely buzzing, to be honest. It is a proud moment for myself and my family to be signing my first professional contract at a club like Sunderland," Rigg said after agreeing a deal until 2027.

"I have been dying to sign it for almost a year now. I want to develop as a player and improve as a person – and I believe this is the best place for me to do that.

"All the staff have been unbelievable with me throughout my journey at the Academy of Light, but there are still so many improvements I can make. The hard work starts now, but I am looking forward to making many more memories representing this club.”

Rigg, who has been capped almost 30 times by England at youth level, and captained the under-17s side during this summer's European Championship's in Cyprus, is likely to form a key part of Le Bris' Sunderland squad this season, with sporting director Kristjaan Speakman praising the club's academy staff for their work with Rigg as he has developed through the ranks. 

“I’m delighted for Chris, who has always communicated to us that Sunderland is where he wants to be," said Speakman.

"Everyone is aware of how difficult it can be to retain top talent in today’s climate, and this would not have been possible without great people. Robin Nicholls and our academy staff undertake excellent work and I’m pleased for them all that another academy graduate has committed their future to the club.

"Chris’ talent, and more recently his performances within the first team, made interest and speculation inevitable, and it is a testament to all behind the scenes that he has committed his future to our club.”

Rigg returned for pre-season duty this week along with the rest of Le Bris' first team squad ahead of next week's opening friendlies with South Shields and Gateshead.