Wrexham are preparing for their first season back in the EFL after more than a decade, and the Ryan Reynolds-owned side are looking to bolster their ranks ahead of the new campaign

James McClean could be a real coup of a signing for Wrexham

James McClean could be a real coup of a signing for Wrexham

Ireland international James McClean looks set to become the highest-profile new signing for EFL newcomers Wrexham as owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney pull their weight.

The Red Dragons are back in the fourth tier after a 15-year absence, having won the National League with more than 100 points last season. England international Ben Foster has extended his stay after arriving last season, but now it’s about the owners finding new talent to help out manager Phil Parkinson.

One-time Manchester United starlet Nick Powell was linked earlier in the summer, only to end up at fellow League Two side Stockport County. A move for Powell’s former Stoke team-mate McClean could be a real statement signing, though.

According to the Irish Independent, McClean is ‘close to finalising’ a move from Wigan. The Derry-born star featured in every single Championship game for the Latics last term, but couldn’t stop them dropping down to the third tier after a difficult season.

The 34-year-old is still part of the senior Irish set-up, having represented the national team at Euro 2012 and Euro 2016. He won his 100th cap during the June international break, starting the 3-0 victory over Gibraltar.

While the exact fee has not been confirmed, the Red Dragons are expected to part with a six-figure sum. Wrexham’s current record signing, Ollie Palmer, set the club back £300,000 in 2022.

Wrexham made Will Boyle their first signing of the summer, with the defender joining from Championship side Huddersfield Town. The limited business has come after manager Phil Parkinson hinted the club won’t be making wholesale changes.

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“I don’t think we need loads of players,” Parkinson told the TWS Sports Podcast in July. “I think we already got 20 plus players and if we can bring one or two key players, then I will be happy. If we didn’t and we continued with the same squad, I won’t be complaining.”

Co-owner McElhenney previously said he and Reynolds would continue to speak to Parkinson about transfer needs after an injury to last season’s top scorer Paul Mullin. A number of strikers were linked after Mullin suffered a punctured lung during a pre-season friendly against a Manchester United XI in the United States.

Wrexham beat that young Man Utd side in San Diego, and also claimed a 4-0 victory over LA Galaxy II, a draw with Philadelphia Union II, and a defeat against a Chelsea side including England internationals Conor Gallagher and Ben Chilwell. Parkinson’s team will kick off their League Two season this weekend against MK Dons, who were relegated from League One last term.