Wrexham Football Club’s attempt to sign striker Luke Armstrong in a club-record transfer deal was filled with drama reminiscent of a Hollywood movie, thanks to their celebrity owners. The Welsh team had reached an agreement to bring in Armstrong from Harrogate as a replacement for the injured Paul Mullin.
Armstrong, who had scored one goal in five games this season, had been pushing for a move away from Harrogate and had even gone on strike. Harrogate had announced that he had joined Phil Parkinson’s side on a permanent deal. However, the transfer was voided by the English Football League (EFL) due to paperwork being submitted after the deadline.
According to the Daily Mail, Wrexham had a bid of £500,000 accepted by their League Two rivals for the 27-year-old striker. Unfortunately, Wrexham failed to submit the necessary paperwork before the transfer window closed at 11pm on Friday night, leading to the rejection of the transfer by the EFL.
An EFL spokesperson stated that the rejection was due to the paperwork not being submitted on time. Wrexham had to break the disappointing news to their fans just minutes before their match against Tranmere on Saturday.
In a club statement, Wrexham confirmed that terms had been agreed to sign Armstrong, but the required documentation and clearance requests could not be completed in time. As a result, Armstrong remains a Harrogate Town player. The club expressed their disappointment and thanked the player for choosing to join Wrexham.
Despite the setback, Wrexham managed to make two signings on deadline day. Arsenal goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo joined on loan following Ben Foster’s retirement, and George Evans joined from Millwall on a two-year contract.
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Overall, Wrexham’s attempt to sign Luke Armstrong ended in disappointment due to paperwork submission issues. However, the club remains determined to move forward and strengthen their squad with new signings.
Wrexham AFC made headlines this week as their club record signing of Luke Armstrong from Harrogate Town was voided by the English Football League (EFL).
The deal, the largest in the Welsh club’s 137-year history, was called off due to the 23-year-old striker being unable to obtain international clearance. Wrexham signed the young forward for an undisclosed amount, thought to be the largest transfer between two English Football League clubs in the 2020-21 season.
However, the EFL, despite initially granting Armstrong a transfer, has now said the deal does not comply with their regulations. Further investigation by the EFL into the international paperwork relating his transfer revealed some inconsistency. As a result, the league refused to approve the move, and Armstrong has now returned to Harrogate.
The EFL released an official statement, saying “In order for the transfer to take place, the EFL requires a player not only to have International Clearance but also to satisfy the criteria of their eligibility to play by making sure the relevant paperwork is in place. The EFL’s review of the transfer found that there were inconsistencies.”
Commenting on the decision, Wrexham boss Dean Keates said “We are desperately disappointed by the outcome and rightly so. We fought hard to secure a deal and worked extremely hard to get the move over the line.”
Harrogate Chairman Clive Beldam said “We can now continue planning with Luke as part of our legendry squad and I know he’s feeling more motivated than ever to help us reach our ambition of promotion this season”
It is a surreal situation for Wrexham, however, it remains to be seen how they will approach the situation and react to this latest setback. With the season kicking off this weekend, the Welsh club must move quickly to try and bring in a replacement and try to salvage their record-breaking transfer.
It seems all at Wrexham feel let down, but, with transfer windows closing soon, they must now focus on finding a change in luck in the market, if they are to set any new transfer records this season.