New York City FC have finally confirmed the capture of Frank Lampard, who became a free agent after his long and illustrious spell ended following the conclusion of last season. Lampard has signed a two-year deal with the soon-to-be MLS club.
A deal funded by Abu Dhabi billions
An interesting sub-plot to Lampard’s move to New York is that his hefty salary will now be funded by in part by Abu Dhabi United Group - the same private equity company that owns Manchester City.
Lampard will reportedly earn something close to the £150,000-per-week he was able to make during his final years with Chelsea, and is a notable signing indeed for the 20th MLS club, a sister of the Premier League champions.
This link between the two clubs was highlighted on Thursday when Manchester City hailed Lampard’s signing with a story on their own official club website. How they would have loved to have made a similar announcement in the 36-year-old’s halcyon days.
Manchester City announcement
“There was good news for our MLS sister club on Thursday afternoon as Frank Lampard was unveiled as NYCFC’s latest signing,” read the statement on MCFC.co.uk.
“The England international joins David Villa, Josh Saunders and Jeb Brovsky to become New York City FC’s fourth signing ahead of their 2015 kick-off.
“Lampard, Chelsea’s all-time record goalscorer, will play for Jason Kreis’s side when their season gets under way in Spring.”
In the meantime, Lampard may well feature for Melbourne City FC - the triplet in this trio of football teams powered by Abu Dhabi United Group - in order to maintain his fitness ahead of his maiden season with New York, which begins next March.
Jose Mourinho, for his part, had hoped to convince Lampard to stay with Chelsea, although the club took something of a different stance given their need to reduce the wage bill to make way for some notable acquisitions.
Watch: Latest Chelsea transfer news
Mourinho advice ignored
The Chelsea manager also attempted to dissuade Lampard from securing a move to America given his belief that the player still has the ability to perform at the very highest level. It was a rare point on which the two disagreed.
It may irk Mourinho to see Lampard depart for a supposed weaker league, but at least the Manchester City announcement regarding the veteran midfielder signalled a transfer to MLS rather than the Etihad Stadium.