WREXHAM manager Dean Saunders wants former England under-21 striker Matt Jansen to spearhead the club’s promotion bid next season.
Even though the 32-year old managed only three games for the Dragons after joining them in March, Saunders is hoping to persuade the ex-Premiership star to extend his Racecourse stay on an incentive-based deal.
The pursuit of Jansen, who scored one goal for the club before picking up a knee injury, was the major announcement on a day when Saunders confirmed new contract offers for defender Mike Williams and midfielder Jamie McCluskey and revealed that recent recruit Mansour Assoumani has also agreed to return next season, subject to acceptable terms.
Although Jansen is having a minor knee operation imminently, Saunders said: “It would be a major coup for the club if I can persuade him to join us. There is no doubt in my mind that after a full pre-season training he would get 20 goals for us.
“When he joined us in March he was hoping to rediscover his enthusiasm for the game and he certainly did that. He enjoyed the training and being involved again so I’m hoping that remains the case.
“I’m looking at a structured contract that would be suitable both for him and for Wrexham. When we had him on the pitch he stood out as an excellent player and he made a big difference for us until he got injured.”
On their way out of Wrexham less than 24 hours after the season’s final match against Weymouth, goalkeepers Gavin Ward and Anthony Williams and young defender Chris Marriott were released, with more departures expected in the coming days.
The size of Wrexham’s squad – 46 different players were used during the season – means Saunders has yet to speak to everyone, particularly those who have been on loan elsewhere.
Those who are staying, including nine players inherited from former boss Brian Little, have been given a fortnight off, but they will return to Colliers Park on May 12 and train twice a week through to the start of pre-season at the end of June.
During that time each player will also get an additional two weeks off as Saunders introduces a new regime.
“The game has changed and it’s something that happens at most clubs nowadays,” added Saunders.
“The reason is that I want them playing football as quickly as possible in pre-season.
“It does no one any good to have so much time off work and a month is more than enough for anyone.”
UNDER CONTRACT: Jefferson Louis, Kyle Critchell, Carl Tremarco, Darran Kempson, Tom Kearney, Simon Brown, Nat Brown, Silvio Spann, Michael Proctor, Sam Williamson, Steve Abbott, Chris Maxwel, Obi Anoruo, Neil Taylor, Andy Fleming, Marc Williams, Kai Edwards.
OFFERED CONTRACTS: Matt Jansen, Mike Williams, Mansour Assoumani, Jamie McCluskey.
OUT: Gavin Ward, Anthony Williams, Chris Marriott.