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Hodgson Tells the Last-Minute Story of Signing Batshuayi

1 February 2019

Many transfers happen in football behind closed doors with few lucky enough to be privy to what is actually going on.

But the circle is even closer than many think, as Roy Hodgson revealed today.

Recounting the story of how Palace signed Michy Batshuayi in the small hours of this morning, Hodgson remarked that he himself had little inside knowledge as to the deal's fine print.

Want to know how things went as deadline day drew to a shut? We'll leave it to Hodsgon, as here he explains it all from his perspective.

"He was a player that we actually discussed with regards to signing a forward player even before the transfer window opened, so he's been a name that's been on our lips for a while. Our initial enquiries were that he was likely to be loaned out again but not necessarily to an English club.

"Fairly late on, we realised that there was an opportunity and that there were several clubs in for him and it was only right at the last minute that Chelsea decided if he was going to be loaned out, we'd be the prime candidate. We jumped in straight away and Dougie Freedman and Steve Parish did extremely well in that limited period of time to get the transfer over the line.

"If you look at his goalscoring record at all of the clubs he's played at from the time that he started, it's been very, very good. He's a proven goalscorer, we've always liked what we've seen. I'd done research when his name came up as a possibility for us early in the window. I spoke to two or three people that I know and whose judgement I trust about him as a player and as a character. What I got were very, very good references. 

"There was a little bit of good fortune on our part that he came our way. There was a glimmer of hope and that hope got stronger during the actual day itself. It was some good reaction work from the Chairman and Doug Freedman to really put themselves out to make certain that we got the deal and we were able to provide a bit of last minute drama for the television into the bargain.

"I knew from Doug that the deal was possibly on and agreed with Chelsea at around 8.30 and that Doug was on his way to finalise it. But I don't know the ins and outs of these deals, I've got to say I don't really know what has to be done, what paperwork has to be done. Sky are the experts on that!

"All I knew is that it was a distinct possibility and one that we wanted to pursue. If we wanted to bring this deal 'home' if you like, we would definitely be doing everything in our power to do that.

"Doug then kept me informed during that period of time up to 11 o'clock and I knew just about as much as everybody else, because it really was that close. There was no attempt on our side to keep it to the very last minute for drama. It just was that dramatic; our application was one of the very last ones in, maybe the last one in.

"So then, of course, it was a question of informing international clearance which had to take place after the actual 11pm deadline. So I didn't find out unfortunately because I was tired from the day before, which was a tiring and late night, so I wasn't in the mood or didn't have the ability to stay awake until possibly one in the morning to find out. So I actually went to bed not knowing!

"It was a pleasant surprise to wake up this morning to Doug's text telling me it was all done and to see my son's message on Whatsapp. He had been watching it all the way through, he congratulated us and said how pleased he was to see we'd got the player we wanted."

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