Chelsea used transfer deadline day to complete the signing of Michael Hector from Reading. The 23 year old central defender has cost the defending Premier League champions £4 million and has signed a 5 year contract with the London club.
Hector has only broken in to the Reading starting XI over the past year and a half, getting his first team debut in January 2014 and making 54 starts for the Royals since.
Hector joined the Reading Academy in 2009 before spending his time on a succession of loans. He spent a month on loan at Bracknell Town in October of 2009 before joining Didcot Town in November of the same year. In January 2010 he went to Havant & Waterlooville, making one appearance for the Conference South side as a substitute. He then signed his first professional contract with Reading in May 2010.
In August that year he spent a month on loan at Oxford City, making seven appearances. He moved to Horsham in November, scoring his first career goal in his debut against Billericay Town. He made another eleven appearances for Horsham, picking up three red cards including two in successive matches, before returning to his parent club.
In February of 2011 he joined Dundalk in the Premier League Division of Ireland until 30 June. He made his competitive debut against Shamrock Rovers and went on to make another 14 appearances, netting two goals. Hector picked up a knee injury in May 2011 and spent the next few months regaining his fitness, joining Barnet on loan in November. His initial one month loan was extended until the end of the season, becoming a regular first team player and being voted the club’s Young Player Of The Season.
Hector signed a new contract with Reading in the summer of 2012 despite interest in his signature from both Norwich City and West Ham United. He joined Shrewsbury Town on a six month loan in July of that year, but the loan didn’t work out and he returned to Reading in November. In the middle of that month he was sent on loan to Aldershot until the end of January 2013. Hector then joined Cheltenham Town on a one month loan initially, only for the loan to be extended until the end of the season after some impressive performances.
On July 26th 2013 Hector joined Aberdeen on a six month loan, impressing enough for the Dons’ manager Derek McInnes to want to extend his loan. An injury crisis at Reading meant that couldn’t happen, and the youngster made his Reading debut as a substitute in January 2014. He made nine appearances in total that season before breaking in to the first team proper the following season.
The six foot four inch centre back is a boyhood Chelsea fan and will immediately return to Reading on loan for the rest of the season. The manager at the Royals is former Chelsea player and Jose Mourinho’s one time assistant manager Steve Clarke, therefore the Portuguese manager will be hoping that Hector will be given plenty of chances in the Reading first team and that his former assistant will help him understand what it means to play for Chelsea.