The striker Birmingham City almost signed on transfer deadline day, listed by their League One rivals

Peterborough United have signed striker Kabongo Tshimanga two years after his failed move to Birmingham City.

Tshimanga was targeted by the Blues at the end of the 2022 summer transfer window as an alternative centre-forward for Brandon Thomas-Asante, who opted to join West Bromwich Albion. Tshimanga has just enjoyed a prolific season with National League side Chesterfield, scoring 24 goals in 27 games.

But he traveled to Birmingham with a nagging doubt in his mind. Tshimanga had an ankle problem that wasn’t correcting itself when he arrived for medical care – and it turned out.

“That day was crazy,” Tshimanga told Beyond the 92 Podcast. “Since that day, transfer deadline day is moving, I don’t wish that on anyone.

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“I wanted the move to happen much earlier in the window because I had that worry in me that something might go wrong with the scan or the MRI. That fear factor was always there.

“On transfer deadline day, I was going home thinking it was all set and I was going to be a Chesterfield player, then my agent called me: ‘Get ready, we’re going to Birmingham.’ I say, “What? From the National League to the Championship…’

“The excitement was there, but as I go along, I’m quite worried. I knew I was fine, but something inside me wasn’t sure I was 100% right. I had never had a proper medical exam. When I got there, they checked both my ankles, they checked my knees, they checked my hips, they checked my heart.

“I went back to the training ground to sign the papers and I knew in my gut that something in my ankle didn’t feel right. My running form just didn’t seem right. I kept asking the doctors if it was a problem and they said, “No, it’s fine. Over time it will gradually improve and your body will adapt. I just knew in the back of my mind that I had to be really careful.

“The move came too soon. I didn’t have enough games to prove that my ankle could handle the minutes and training regimens. The move to Birmingham came after six or seven games and I didn’t start pre-season with Chesterfield until later. We came in the last game of the pre-season.

“Jumping from the National League to the Championship, training will be demanding. (Birmingham said) we have to know if his ankle is going to be able to handle training and playing time. They were going back and forth.

“I look at the time. This is Birmingham. Not many players get to jump from the National League to the Championship, you have to try and find a way to make it work for me. They couldn’t come to an agreement and I ended up going back to Chesterfield.”

Tshimanga continued to score freely in the National League until January when Peterborough United acted on their long-standing interest in him. The 26-year-old failed to follow in the footsteps of Aaron McLean, George Boyd, Dwight Gayle and Ivan Toney in making a name for himself at London Road.

His 2023/24 campaign was split between a fruitless loan spell with League One strugglers Fleetwood Town and a spell at Boreham Wood, where he scored seven goals in 16 National League games.

Peterborough, who missed out on promotion to the Championship via the play-offs, decided to transfer Tshimanga. Posh also released prolific striker Jonson Clarke-Harris at the end of his contract.

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