Hollywood owners Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds took Wales by storm with how they handled Wrexham. The two gave coach Phil Parkinson the tools for success, and the 55-year-old Wrexham manager has been using them in the best possible way.
Despite a 2022/23 season to remember, Wrexham’s attention must swiftly turn to the 2023/24 League Two campaign. Coach Parkinson and his boys don’t have long to revel over their 3-2 promotion-winning game versus Notts County.
On multiple occasions, The English manager said that he’s only interested in the right players. He doesn’t want to buy in bulk. That’s why everywhere you click, you see Wrexham being connected with former Manchester United defender-in-chief Phil Jones, Real Madrid’s Welsh maestro Gareth Bale, or even in-form Nick Powell.
However, who are the names that will eventually join Wrexham’s ranks? As reluctant as coach Parkinson is about new additions to his team, he has to admit that the League Two campaign is a very different experience and he’ll need all the help he can get.
- 1 Wrexham New Singings
- 2 Wrexham’s Departures in 2023
- 2.1 Ben Foster – Retired
- 2.2 Jake Hyde – Yeovil Town
- 2.3 Harry Lennon – Retired
- 2.4 Louis Lloyd – Caernarfon
- 2.5 Dan Jones – Released
- 2.6 Ryan Austin – Caernarfon
- 2.7 Kai Calderbank-Park – Released
- 2.8 Reece Hall-Jonson – Released
- 2.9 Rory Watson – Released
- 2.10 Tom Jenkins – Released
- 2.11 Malik Dijksteel – Released
Wrexham New Singings
At the age of 27, Will Boyle is no spring chicken. He’s currently enjoying the best years of his professional career, so coach Parkinson is surely fortunate to have him boost Wrexham’s defence before the 2023/24 League Two race kicks off.
Former Huddersfield Town defender Boyle decided to renew his career with a Wrexham move, as he wasn’t getting enough minutes with Huddersfield Town. He made 16 appearances for the Championship side last season, in which he supplied a teammate with an assist, earning himself three yellow cards and a red one.
Will Boyle is expected to make a watertight duo with Ben Tozer in Wrexham’s backline this season.
34-year-old veteran James McClean is Wrexham’s star transfer in the summer of 2023. The Irish midfielder’s professional career began back in 2007 when he made an official appearance for Institute. In the years to come, McClean defended the colors of Derry City, Sunderland, Wigan Athletic, West Bromwich Albion, Stoke City, and Wigan Athletic again for the past two seasons.
Now, James McClean opted to open a new chapter in his life by playing for Wrexham. Hollywood superstars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney convinced the prolific player to join their team. Wrexham paid an impressive €290k for James McClean’s services on a one-year deal that has the potential to transform into a two-year stay if, at the end of the campaign, the two sides are happy with the results achieved.
On signing, McClean said that he’s very impressed by Wrexham’s project and he’d like to be a part of that journey one way or another. We have yet to see if the 34-year-old versatile player will leave a mark in Wrexham’s history book, but he definitely has what it takes to be a leader of the team.
Up-and-coming goalkeeper Liam Hall is the latest player to boost Wrexham’s ranks. Snapping him on a free transfer was definitely a top-notch deal as the 18-year-old keeper has a bright future ahead of him.
The former Bradford starlet was deemed unworthy to wear Bradford Park Avenue’s jersey and it was Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney’s sharp eyes that saw his potential to be the next big thing for Wrexham. 18-year-old Hall signed until the end of the 2023/24 season with a possible one-year extension. Bolstering the goalkeeping department was definitely something Wrexham needed, as the new season is going to be even more difficult for the club.
Irish shot-stopper McNicholas has no time to waste if he wants to prove to coach Phil Parkinson that he has a place in Wrexham’s ranks. Luke McNicholas joins the club on a short-term loan from Sligo Rovers. The amount paid remains confidential but what we do know is that Luke’s deal with Wrexham is until January 2024. He will surely get the required minutes to prove his worth, but McNicholas will probably be second fiddle to goalkeeper-in-chief Rob Lainton.
You could say that George Evans is a former Manchester City player. After all, he did make an appearance for the Citizens in the EFL Cup game back in the 2015/16 season. Of course, he didn’t get any other chance to shine at Etihad as he spent the next couple of seasons searching for a place to call home.
George Evans’ last team was Millwall. The Lions poached him away from Derby County in 2020 and throughout the next three campaigns, George Evans was a firm starter for his new club.
The 28-year-old versatile defender is the latest to boost Wrexham’s ranks this season. American superstars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney made him an offer he simply couldn’t refuse. George joins Wrexham on a free transfer, as his contract with Millwall expired earlier last month. It’s a bargain and a half to get a former Championship player without spending a dime, and we have to congratulate Wrexham’s board for scooping Evans on a three-year contract.
With the likes of 25-year-old goalkeeper-in-chief Aaron Ramsdale between the woodwork for Arsenal, it was clear that Arthur Okonkwo wasn’t getting minutes this season. The Gunners opted to send 21-year-old Arthur Okonkow on a season-long loan with Wrexham, where he’ll get regular first-team action. Leaving the north Londoners could be a step in the right direction for the up-and-coming goalkeeper, as he’ll get a chance to make a name for himself in one of England’s top football projects right now.
The good news for Wrexham’s board is that the club will be able to poach Arthur Okonkwo on a free transfer at the end of the season should he manage to impress coach Phil Parkinson. There are only 12 months left on Arthur Okonkwo’s Arsenal deal but rumors have it that the Gunners have no interest in offering him a new contract. This is great news for Wrexham, as Arthur Okonkwo’s market value is set at a whopping €2.0m right now. No other Wrexham player comes remotely close to those fantastic numbers.
Wrexham’s Departures in 2023
Ben Foster – Retired
Out of the blue, English goalkeeping legend Ben Foster opted to put an end to his glorious career. His professional journey included games for plenty of teams – Racing Club Warwick, Stoke City, Bristol City, Tiverton Town, Stafford Rangers, Kidderminster Harriers, Manchester United, Watford, Birmingham City, West Bromwich Albion, and, of course, Wrexham.
Ben Foster only came out of retirement last season to perform heroic deeds with Wrexham’s jersey in their National League campaign. However, after conceding five goals in Wrexham’s game versus Swindon Town, he finally admitted that he’s no longer up to par with today’s youth. Retiring seemed like the best course of action both for him and the club, as his mistakes are costing Wrexham too many points this season.
Jake Hyde – Yeovil Town
The 33-year-old Hyde joined Yeovil Town after his contract with Wrexham expired and he didn’t receive a new one.
Harry Lennon – Retired
As much as Harry wanted to keep things going with Wrexham, his injury issues finally caught up to him. The 2022/23 season was his swan song, as the 28-year-old announced on the 15th of May that he’s hanging his boots due to his persistent injuries.
Louis Lloyd – Caernarfon
The 19-year-old Lloyd joined Cymru Premier club Caernarfon on a free transfer, as he didn’t receive any minutes with Wrexham last season.
Dan Jones – Released
Another player that is not needed by the club. Dan Joes, 19, certainly has a bright future ahead of him, but Hollywood owners Reynolds and McElhenney don’t have the time to wait for him to flourish, as they need results sooner rather than later.
Footballers and ice baths, what could possibly go wrong…😅
— Wrexham AFC (@Wrexham_AFC) July 20, 2023
Ryan Austin – Caernarfon
Veteran Ryan Austin followed former Wrexham partner-in-crime Louis Lloyd to Caernarfon. The two were on coach Phil Parkinson’s not-needed list.
Kai Calderbank-Park – Released
The 22-year-old Kai Calderbank-Park is one of the many players that Wrexham’s board decided to let go. The up-and-coming Australian goalkeeper didn’t get many opportunities to shine at Racecourse Ground, so hopefully he’ll find a team willing to give him more of a chance.
Reece Hall-Jonson – Released
Former Norwich defender Reece Hall-Jonson made only two appearances for Wrexham last season. It’s no wonder the board didn’t give him a new contract. Coach Phil Parkinson doesn’t need his services.
Rory Watson – Released
With Rob Lainton, legendary English goalkeeper Ben Foster, and 36-year-old Mark Howard, how was Rory Watson supposed to get minutes with Wrexham? Releasing him was probably for the best for both sides, as now, Rory will be able to find a club willing to give him minutes.
Tom Jenkins – Released
Tom Jenkins is also one of the players that got released after Wrexham made a sensational comeback to League Two football. Tom didn’t get minutes with Wrexham, so leaving the club was probably a good call.
Malik Dijksteel – Released
Releasing Malik Dijksteel at the end of the 2023/24 season was a bit controversial move by Wrexham’s board as the 22-year-old player from the Netherlands has a bright future ahead of him. Malik Dijksteel joined Wrexham’s ranks on the 23rd of March, 2023, but after a spell with Wrexham’s Res., the board decided he doesn’t have what it takes to make a breakthrough in coach Parkinson’s team.