Arsenal ace confirms emotional transfer exit after Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney phone call

Wrexham co-owners and Hollywood stars Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 29: (L-R) Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds attend the FYC red carpet for FX's "Welcome to Wrexham" at Television Academy on April 29, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Leon Bennett/The Hollywood Reporter via Getty Images) -Credit:Leon Bennett/The Hollywood Reporter via Getty Images

Arthur Okonkwo has opened up about a morale-boosting conversation with one of Wrexham's celebrity owners during a tough period at the club. The young goalkeeper, on loan from Arsenal, found himself in a rough patch as Wrexham's form dipped after the turn of the year.

Having stepped in to fill the void left by Ben Foster's sudden re-retirement, Okonkwo initially coped well with the demands of League Two football. However, his personal form took a hit just as Phil Parkinson's team experienced a string of losses, including a defeat to Newport County and an FA Cup knockout by Blackburn Rovers, which jeopardised their promotion ambitions.

Amidst this challenging spell, Okonkwo received an unexpected call from one of the club's high-profile co-chairmen, offering support. "That's when this number flashed up on my phone, saying 'Los Angeles'," Okonkwo told The Athletic.

"I worked out pretty quickly it was either Rob [McElhenney] or Ryan [Reynolds]. It was Rob, who said, 'You've been great, just keep doing what you're doing.' It was so good to get a call from your chairman, knowing he's right behind you at all times. You don't get that at a lot of clubs."

There's unwavering confidence at National League champions Wrexham, as McElhenney's faith in Okonkwo paid off. The Arsenal youngster earned the moniker of "promotion hero", helping guide the Red Dragons to an automatic promotion to League One - the first time in 160 years that the club secured back-to-back promotions, reports the Mirror.

His stellar performance saw him replace ex-Manchester United keeper Foster - who returned to retirement post a vibrant start in League Two - and he quickly became a real fan favourite. The shot-stopper is set to leave Arsenal at the end of his contract this summer with several sides having their sights set on signing the player.

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However, Wrexham enthusiasts are holding onto hopes that their co-owner will turn Okonkwos stint into a permanent deal for the club. Discussing his future prospects, Okonkwo continued, "I haven't looked too much into things at the moment. But I will, very soon.

"It is about looking at all my opportunities and seeing which is the best for me. I've loved it at Wrexham and they will stay in my heart forever. It's more of a waiting game now and seeing what is the right move for myself."

On his departure from Arsenal, he confessed, "I went to say my goodbyes at Arsenal the other day. That was tough, knowing I won't be there any more. I'd been there so long. But it does feel like the right time. The club is doing so well.

"You have to be one of the best to play for Arsenal. I have to follow my own career path and do what I need to do for myself. There are no hard feelings, we ended things very well. I had an incredible time - 14 years and I can still remember the first day I joined.

"I can never be more grateful to the club for what they have given me. And, you never know how football works, I could be back there one day."