As last season's Premier League drew to a close, it ultimately called time on Frank Lampard's Chelsea career.
But now the Blues legend once again finds himself in the midst of contract speculation, and it's Manchester City who now find themselves paying his wages.
However, Lampard's well documented City deal is only temporary, with the 36-year-old on loan at the Etihad from New York City, a sister club of the Premier League champions.
The need to resolve his future has been doubled after Yaya Toure's Ivory Coast sealed their place at the Africa Cup of Nations, and The Guardian claim City are keen for Lampard to stay.
Though the tournament doesn't begin until 17th January, Toure will likely be required to link up with the national team before that, and could be missing for a month should the Ivory Coast make the February 8th final.
Although the exact date is unclear, it's well known that Lampard's current City deal expires in January, when he's expected to link up with New York City ahead of their preparations for their debut Major League Soccer campaign.
However, the MLS season does not get underway until March, opening the possibility of Lampard extending his current loan deal beyond January.
In September, Pellegrini was clear that Lampard would not spend the entire season with City, but he did suggest their was scope for an extension, saying: "We will do what is best for the team and the player. We must talk about a lot of things but it is not impossible for him to stay here.
"It is an issue that we will see further down the line. We will see what happens
in January and we have two or three months to decide.”
Now that Toure's participation in the Africa Cup of Nations is confirmed, City must move quick to make a decision regarding Lampard's future.
While the ex-Chelsea man may not be a like-for-like replacement for the Ivory Coast man, his presence in the squad will undoubtedly help Pellegrini cope with life without his powerful midfielder.
Of course, there's a possibility no deal will be agreed but the City boss needs to know what options he'll have at his disposal as soon as possible.
Though there has been no official statement from the club, The Guardian
Should Lampard depart while Toure is on international duty, City would be left with just Fernandinho and Fernando as natural central midfielders.
The Brazilian duo have proven, at times, to be excellent partners for a more attack minded midfield man, but they've done little to suggest they could work together.
That may prompt Pellegrini to dip into the January transfer market, although a top class central midfielder may be hard to come by mid-season.
However, City's millions can make anything possible, and a new addition in central midfield would not only fill the gap left by Toure, it will also add competition for places upon his return.
Financial Fair Play restrictions will limit the money available for new signings, but Pellegrini could opt to offset any purchases by selling fringe players such as Scott Sinclair and Matija Nastasic.
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