Crystal Palace had a deal in place to sign Reading defender Michael Hector before Chelsea swooped in, according to Palace co-owner Steve Parish. Despite holding talks with Alan Pardew's side on the final day of the summer transfer window, Hector, 23, decided to sign for the Premier League champions, before returning to the Royals on loan for the duration of the 2015-16 season.
And while Parish was disappointed to see one of the club's final transfer targets slip away, he understands the player's decision to reject a move to Selhurst Park. "We had a deal with Michael Hector at Reading – that was a done deal and we thought we had that one," Parish said, speaking to Holmesdale Radio.
"Unfortunately the might of Chelsea came in and the player chose to go there, so at least we are getting the right targets. We must be doing the right thing, so that was disappointing but you don't win them all and we live to fight another day.
"I am sure Michael will do very well at Chelsea and we wish him all the best. We don't hold grudges, Chelsea are a big club and I think he has supported them since a kid, so you can understand why he chose them."
Hector was the second defender to join Chelsea on deadline day. Earlier in the day, the club secured the services of Senegal defender Papy Djilobodji, paying French side Nantes a reported £4m ($6.1m) to bring him to Stamford Bridge. The 25 year old signed a four-year contract.
Jose Mourinho's side had spent the previous weeks in pursuit of Everton's England international John Stones. The Toffees, however, remained resolute in their attempts to hold on to the player, rejecting at least two offers from the Blues in addition to a transfer request from Stones. Chelsea also failed with two late bids for Paris Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos, according to Sky Sports.