Wrexham AFC has enjoyed a remarkable rise in the past few years.
The historic Welsh club — one of the oldest in the world — was languishing in the English non-league after years of mismanagement as recently as 2020. Then, out of nowhere, Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney dropped a bombshell: the celebrity duo had purchased the club, and they were going to document the journey of the club up the English football pyramid.
While many figured this may be a publicity stunt or simply a temporary distraction, Reynolds and McElhenney have significantly bettered the situation around the club and the town of Wrexham. The famous stadium, The Racecourse, has been purchased by the club and renovated. Reynolds’ popularity and money have helped the club bring in high-status players such as Premier League goalkeeper Ben Foster and Paul Mullin, while McElhenney’s passion has been instrumental in winning over the fans and manager Phil Parkinson.
This season, everything is coming together. A remarkable run in the FA Cup saw Wrexham reach the 4th round of the competition, whereas after beating Notts County the club is in a great position to earn promotion to League Two (England’s fourth tier.) However, the club has even more ambitious plans, and with Reynolds and McElhenney and a documentary giving the players and club exposure, they have all the tools to do great things. Here are five players the club should consider signing in the summer to build off the momentum if they are promoted:
GK CJ dos Santos, 22, Inter Miami
Eventually, McElhenney has to sign a player from Philly, right? Enter CJ dos Santos: formerly a member of the successful Philadelphia Union academy, he moved to the even more successful Benfica academy at the age of 15. He returned to the US last year and has been a regular for Inter Miami’s reserves, showing flashes of potential. With three of Wrexham’s five goalkeepers over the age of 30, dos Santos could be a younger option in goal.
CM Tivonge Rushesha, 20, Swansea
Rushesha has long been viewed as one of the top youth prospects in Wales, debuting for Swansea at the age of 17. He has continued to impress for youth and reserve sides, but injuries have stunted his development and he hasn’t made another appearance for the club. His contract expires in June and a change of scenery could be just what the young star needs. Wrexham could certainly use the depth next year in what will be a very busy season.
CM/CAM Jonny Williams, 29, Swindon
Jonny Williams is no stranger to documentaries: he was with Sunderland during the first season of Sunderland ‘Til I Die, which (unknowingly) captured the club’s relegation to League One from the Championship. Williams, a Welsh international, now finds himself in League Two with Swindon Town and is having a fine season with nine goals and two assists. He would be a good veteran option for Wrexham and will be available for free in June.
CB Dominic Iorfa, 27, Sheffield Wednesday
Wrexham like to live on the edge: for them, offense is the best defense. This is why the club has got in some proper shootouts, like a 7-5 win over Barnet. If they reach League Two, they’ll need to reinforce the backline: enter former England youth international Dominic Iorfa. Iorfa has played over 200 games in the Championship and League One, but after a mixed year with Sheffield Wednesday, he could probably be convinced to move down a tier.
ST Gareth Bale, 33, Retired
Overly optimistic? Sure. But Wrexham has already got one former Premier League star (Ben Foster) out of retirement, and Bale could be next. It’s in his native Wales. It’s certainly less stressful than any other league he’s ever played in. He’ll get decent money — not that he needs it. He can be featured on Welcome to Wrexham and build his brand. And, in terms of golfing buddies, it doesn’t get much better than Ryan Reynolds.
Image Courtesy of John Lord from Edinburgh, Scotland, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.
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