Newcastle United are hopeful that they will win the race to sign Sunderland starlet Chris Rigg, sources have told 90min.
The 15-year-old is in line to receive his senior debut in the Black Cats' trip to Shrewsbury Town in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday.
Captain of England's Under-16 side, Rigg is being courted by the country's top clubs. Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham, Liverpool and Everton have all held talks over a potential deal for the highly-rated youngster.
However, despite coming through the ranks at Sunderland, Rigg and his family are huge fans of bitter rivals Newcastle, and 90min understands the Magpies are in pole position for his signature.
Sunderland realise they are fighting a losing battle to keep Rigg but hope the promise of immediate first-team football will help convince him to stay at the Stadium of Light a little while longer.
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Ahead of Rigg's potential debut, Sunderland boss Tony Mowbray was quizzed on the 15-year-old's involvement.
"He's coming with us. I watched him train today with the first team and do the game-prep, and I have to say he is really impressive," he said.
"He's not a big, strong, physical, guy - he's quite slight - but he has a wonderful left foot and he is an incredibly competitive animal. I've seen him for 20-30 minutes in an U21 game against Southampton, and his potential looks enormous to me.
"He looks like a footballer who can play with the silkiness with his left foot, and play lovely passes, but he also looks like a tiger in that he wants to tackle everyone, and that's not a bad mix for a midfielder. For a boy of 15, I don't want to overly build him up other than to say he looked in training today like he warrants being around our squad."
Sunderland currently have one of the youngest squads in England, though are firmly in the hunt for promotion to the Premier League, sitting eighth in the Championship table.
Source : 90min