EFL rule puts Portsmouth midfield star and Wrexham target in transfer danger

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Out-of-contract Blues star at risk following news of latest Wrexham signing

Newly-promoted League One side Wrexham could be forced to have a huge clear-out of their squad due to EFL registration rules pertaining to the number of contracted senior players allowed in a squad.

The Red Dragons have achieved back-to-back promotions following Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney’s takeover of the football club in 2020. The Hollywood duo oversaw the Welsh club’s mighty return to the Football League in 15 years following their National League triumph at the end of the 2022/23 season and now, having finished second in League Two, they will now take on the likes of Pompey’s former rivals Bolton, Barnsley and Peterborough United.

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However, such exultations may well be coming at a cost with Pompey star Joe Morrell set to be a casualty of the EFL’s regulations.

Wrexham’s current squad includes players from their fifth-tier success as well as last season’s arrivals. Following their second promotion, the club are looking to bring in even more fighting power with the soon-to-be out-of-contract Blues star Joe Morrell a reported target.

But in order for new additions to be brought to the Racecourse Ground, the club may well have to operate a ‘one in, one out’ system. The EFL squad limit for registration is 22 players and following the news that veteran striker Steven Fletcher has been rewarded with a contract extension, Wrexham currently have 21 contracted senior players.

According to the EFL regulations, any player under the age of 21 and goalkeepers are not required to be included in the squad list. However, if a club attempts to declare players as goalkeepers in a bid to work the system, that will constitute misconduct.

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As it currently stands, Wrexham can register just one more signing before being forced to remove players from their current list. Those taken off the registration don’t necessarily have to leave the club but it does put the club’s management in an awkward position.

It also puts any credited interest the Red Dragons have in Pompey star Morrell at risk. The News reported earlier this week that the Welsh club were looking to make a statement signing in bringing the midfielder to the Racecourse Ground. Morrell - who has also enjoyed reported interest from QPR and Birmingham City - is out of contract at the end of the month and a new deal is yet to be established.

Fratton Park have been consistent in claiming they are hopeful the Welsh international will remain in PO7 but, following talks with the 27-year-old, no deal has been finalised. After declining the opportunity to activate his clause to extend his stay on the south coast by 12 months, Morrell is free to talk to other interested parties this summer.

One such party has been reported to be Wrexham, who have already said farewell to six stars of their own this summer with former club captain Ben Tozer, Luke Young, Aaron Hayden, Rob Lainton and Jordan Tunnicluffe all departing the Racecourse Ground.

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It currently remains to be seen whether Morrell will indeed become the 22th registered star for Reynolds and McElhenney’s side or if we are to expect further Wrexham-departures in the ongoing transfer window.

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