Wrexham's Bale offer 'still on table' - McElhenney

Former Wales forward Gareth Bale smiles
Gareth Bale retired from all football 17 months ago [Getty Images]

Wrexham co-owner Rob McElhenney has not given up on signing Gareth Bale, saying "the offer is still on the table".

McElhenney has previously tried to coax the former Wales and Real Madrid star out of retirement via social media.

Bale stepped away from football in January 2023 as his country's record men's goalscorer, after helping Wales to a first World Cup appearance in 64 years.

McElhenney, who alongside fellow actor Ryan Reynolds took over Wrexham in February 2021, has stepped up his efforts to sign the 34-year-old following the club's promotion to League One.

"Gareth Bale is still technically available! I don't know, I made the plea last year and I'm just going to tell Gareth that the offer's still on the table," he said.

"We'll let you off for golf, whenever you need to get off. As long as you come to training once or twice a week we can figure out how to get you 10 minutes on the pitch.

"And the golf courses - Wales is amongst the most beautiful countries in the world."

Okonkwo talks

While it remains to be seen if the ex-Tottenham and Real Madrid star can be persuaded to come out of retirement, signing former Premier League players remains a genuine ambition for Wrexham.

"We're about to find that out this week. We go to Wrexham very soon and we're going to sit down and talk about that with [manager] Phil [Parkinson]," said McElhenney.

Speaking after throwing the opening pitch at London Stadium where the Philadelphia Phillies were playing the New York Mets in Major League Baseball (MLB), McElhenney hopes goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo could return next season after being released by Arsenal.

The 22-year-old helped Wrexham claim a second successive promotion last term after joining on a season-long loan from the Gunners, making 36 League Two starts and keeping 13 clean sheets.

McElhenney said: "There's a very good chance [of signing him]. We're talking to Arthur actively right now. We know he wants to come back to Wrexham and we definitely want him, so it's just about working out the right deal that works for everybody."

While the Hollywood owners have previously outlined plans to develop the club's SToK Racecourse home into a 55,000-seater stadium, the McElhenney was more pragmatic about longer-term ambitions to progress higher up the pyramid.

"That’s what we’re talking about now in the very short off-season, seeing how we can maybe get it done again next year. We’ll see.

"We just look at it season to season. Our goal is to just field the best club we can on the pitch next year and continue to work with the community to give them what they need and what they've been asking for."

Thanks largely to the popularity of the documentary series Welcome to Wrexham, which chronicles both of the club's first teams, several dates on the Red Dragons' upcoming North America tour have already sold out.