The 28-year-old Pogrebnyak impressed at Fulham last season during a six-month spell and was expected to sign a deal to extend his stay at Craven Cottage.
However, a transfer could not be agreed between the Russian and Fulham, so Reading seized the opportunity to sign him, something McDermott is delighted with.
“The owner had a chat with Pavel about six weeks ago, towards the end of last season. I met him, too,” McDermott told The Mirror.
"He took a long time. He showed us a lot of respect and we’re delighted to get him. It shows where we are going as a club.
“He’s a great transfer for us, an excellent player. But what more drew me to him was that he is a good person, a good character. He works really hard for the team and fits into what all of my players have shown over the last season.
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“We kept talking over those six weeks. We needed him to know how important it was to us to get him. That was made very, very clear.”
It is thought that new Reading owner Anton Zingarevich played a major part in the deal and McDermott admits he did have an important role.
However, he moved to dismiss claims Reading had only signed the striker because of his nationality.
McDermott added: “Obviously, it was an advantage to me that Anton is Russian and could speak to him.
“But I wouldn’t say we brought him in because he is Russian. He fits the bill. He fits the mould of what we want.”