Ryan Reynolds' pull obvious as star makes feelings clear on owners and Wrexham

Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney have enjoyed great success with Wrexham
-Credit: (Image: Getty)

Wrexham's goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo bypassed 'offers from a higher level' to rejoin the club which is co-owned by Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, in what they view as a 'statement signing'.

The team managed to elevate itself from 15 years of non-league football by securing two consecutive promotions, making their exit from League Two at their first attempt. As preparations are under way for the 2024/25 campaign, the Red Dragons sealed a permanent deal with Okonkwo whose efforts were pivotal to their double advancement.

It's been three years since Hollywood star Reynolds and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia creator McElhenny took over Wrexham for £2.25m. The duo stirred up a wave of passion towards the project, city and club through the widely viewed Disney+ series 'Welcome to Wrexham'.

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Okonkwo was an integral part of the team last season on loan, and following his contract expiry at Arsenal, decided to extend his stint with the flourishing Welsh project. Manager Phil Parkinson couldn't hide his excitement about sealing the deal.

"We are pleased Arthur has joined us permanently," Parkinson told The Leader. "It is a great signing for us. We know what he is capable of with the season he had last year. His profile as a goalkeeper, inevitably there was going to be a lot of interest in him in the summer and there was a lot of hard work behind the scenes to secure Arthur's signing," reports the Mirror.

Parkinson expressed his satisfaction with the deal, saying: "Credit to everybody getting the deal done. It is important that we work hard to secure the players we really feel can make a difference. We feel that Arthur is one of those who is going to keep improving. He is still young for a goalkeeper. He has had a couple of seasons now at first-team level and he is a really good character as well. We wanted him to stay with us in the long term. I am delighted he had joined us and it is a statement signing."

He further added: "Arthur was a player in all the staff's mind that we really wanted to get on board as soon as the season finished because he is a really good goalkeeper. It is a key signing for us and we are pleased to get it done. It's taken a bit of time but as I've said before, sometimes signings do for a variety of reasons. But we were able to secure the signature and I was pleased to get it done before pre-season starts."

Parkinson also mentioned: "There were offers for him to go to a higher level but I think Arthur's experience here was a very positive one. I am sure supporters will be excited about the signing and hopefully there will be a few more key additions before the season starts."

Okonkwo, who made a significant impact last season with 40 appearances and 16 clean sheets, helping the Red Dragons clinch promotion, expressed his delight upon signing. He said: "I'm feeling very good, I'm so happy to have finally signed and I can't wait to get back to it. It was amazing last season. We had so many good memories together with the fans, and knowing they wanted me back was a big reason that I'm back. It's good to finally be here."

He added: "This is home, it's felt like that since last season when I came in. The co-chairmen are so good, the manager, the coaches, the players, and obviously the backroom staff that you don't see. It's so good to be here."

Previously on loan at Crewe Alexandra and Sturm Graz, Okonkwo's transfer from Arsenal will be sealed on July 1, marking a new chapter in his career.