Chelsea have completed their second and final deal of transfer deadline day, with defender Michael Hector signing a five-year contract after joining from Reading. The 23 year old will immediately return to Berkshire for the rest of the 2015/16 season, however.
Hector, a boyhood Blues supporter, joins fellow centre-back Papy Djilobodji at Stamford Bridge in a move reported by The Guardian to be worth in the region of £4m ($6.1m). Various add-ons and a generous sell-on clause may also be expected given that he only extended his contract with the Royals by three years back in June.
In an official statement, the defending Premier League champions announced: "Chelsea Football Club have today completed the signing of Michael Hector from Reading. The 23-year-old centre-back, who has signed a five-year contract, will return to Reading and spend the remainder of this season on loan at the Madejski Stadium."
A graduate of Reading's impressive youth academy, Hector was dispatched for 11 separate loan spells at the likes of Shrewsbury, Cheltenham and Aberdeen before establishing himself as a first-team regular. He made 60 appearances in all competitions for the club and was arguably their most consistent performer during a difficult 2014/15 campaign that culminated in an impressive performance during the FA Cup semi-final defeat to Arsenal at Wembley.
Although born in England, Hector qualifies to play for Jamaica and he appeared alongside teammate Garath McCleary for the Reggae Boyz during both the Copa America and Gold Cup tournaments this summer. He started for Reading on the opening day of the new Championship season away to Birmingham City but has since had to make do with a seat on the substitutes' bench thanks to the hugely impressive form of Paul McShane and Anton Ferdinand.
"Obviously this is a great move for Michael, to be joining such a big club," director of football Nick Hammond said. "It is also, of course, a great advertisement for our academy that Chelsea have come to us for one of our top young players.
"This move represents a great achievement for Eamonn Dolan and his team, as well as our recruitment department, as it was Steve Shorey, who has been with us such a long time, that identified Michael as a young player in East London. This transfer adds to the prestige of our Academy, and there is so much to be proud of in our youth set-up. We very much appreciate the manner in which Chelsea have dealt with this transfer, and of course it is great to have Michael back for the rest of this season."
Vice-captain Hector sported the armband for Reading during their recent Capital One Cup second-round victory over Portsmouth, although he was relegated back to the bench for the club's subsequent 3-1 win at Brentford. Steve Clarke's side, who loaned Lucas Piazon from Chelsea earlier this week and were only denied a similar deal for Nathaniel Chalobah due to a late offer from Napoli, host third-place Ipswich in front of the television cameras on 11 September.