Shropshire Star

Shrewsbury Town seal re-signing of former fans' favourite Toto Nsiala

Shrewsbury Town have swooped to seal the dramatic re-signing of free agent Toto Nsiala – the fourth time Paul Hurst has signed the defender.

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The centre-back, 32, spent 18 months at Shrewsbury under Hurst before he left to follow the manager to Ipswich Town, then of the Championship, at the end of Town's tilt at League One promotion in 2018.

Nsiala has penned a two-year contract back at the club he previously made 79 appearances for. He also previously worked under Hurst and Chris Doig with Grimsby.

The defender was a huge part of Hurst's Shrewsbury team adored by supporters as they rivalled Wigan and Blackburn for automatic promotion to the Championship, only to be pipped to the top two positions.

He played at Wembley twice for Town, in the EFL Trophy defeat to Lincoln and the following month, as Rotherham edged Salop to the second tier. Soon after, as Ipswich swooped in for Hurst and his staff, Nsiala and midfielder Jon Nolan departed for Portman Road in a switch that was reported to earn Shrewsbury around £2million.

Nsiala was with the Tractor Boys for three-and-a-half years before he joined Fleetwood Town in early 2022. After almost two years at the Cod Army, the former DR Congo international played out the final few months of last season with Burton Albion, who he helped survive relegation from the third tier.

He follows forward George Lloyd, who also penned a two-year contract, through the door at Croud Meadow as Hurst's first two signings of the summer window.

Hurst said: “The fact I have signed Toto four times gives you an insight into what I think of him as a player and also as a character as well.

“We have got a really good relationship and I think myself and Chris (Doig) will be able to get the best out of him – as we have done previously.

“He obviously knows how we work and our expectations of him. I think that works for Toto.

“A lot of the fans will remember him from before – but for those who haven’t seen him, Toto is a very committed defender who will put his body on the line.

“He has good athleticism, he is brave and he is good one-v-one. He brings an aerial presence that every team needs and on top of that, he is vocal.

“By bringing him in we gain experience and leadership qualities.

“In his time here before, while it is a few years on, he was part of a fantastic team and group.

“I think the fact he was so keen to work with us again and also come back to this football club speaks volumes.

“I’m really looking forward to working with him and giving him responsibility within the squad.”