Manchester City have confirmed they have signed Frank Lampard on loan and that the Chelsea legend will play for them until he leaves to join up with new club New York City FC next year.
In an interview on their official website, Lampard expressed excitement at being about to line up next to his new teammates and take on the, temporary, challenge of fighting for a place in the Premier League champions’ first team.
“Joining up with Manchester City is a fantastic opportunity for me to continue to train and play at the top level and make sure I am in top condition for New York City,” he said.
"It has been an amazing few days for me since the unveiling in Brooklyn and everyone connected with both clubs has been fantastic to me. This is a new chapter of my career and I'm really excited about the experience.
"I met Manuel and some of the players in New York and I'm looking forward to getting into training and making a contribution for Manchester City ahead of my move over to New York."
Blues feeling blue?
The Etihad Stadium club confirmed the move on Wednesday in a deal that will likely displease a significant number of Chelsea fans, who have idolised Lampard as one of the club’s greatest ever players.
Jose Mourinho recently revealed that he would not be taking a stance similar to that of the disgruntled members of the Stamford Bridge faithful, insisting that Lampard was always welcome back to the club he helped push into the upper echelons of European football after the arrival of Roman Abramovich’s billions.
Key to the Bridge
Chelsea’s boss even admitted that the England international had been told he could return to the Blues in any capacity he wished, whether it be as assistant coach, part of the academy set up or a role as a club ambassador.
While it may feel like betrayal to some Chelsea fans to see Lampard in the sky blue of their Premier League rivals, it makes perfect sense for both him and the English champions to have a temporary relationship.
Manuel Pellegrini has just sold Jack Rodwell to Sunderland after the signing of Fernando from Porto earlier in the summer, which means he has a player who isn’t used to the rigours of the Premier League in a pretty crucial position.
Yaya Toure and Fernandinho were a fine partnership in the Premier League last term, providing the basis for City’s title-winning charge, but it is a long season with a number of competitions to navigate and the first choice pairing cannot appear for all of the fixtures.
Lampard will not play every game, but will provide quality cover for the two mentioned and help Fernando ease his way into life at Eastlands. However, he is a quality player and has a combative game, so the time that Lampard is there should be sufficient for the Brazilian to get the hang of things.
The crucial factor is that the owners of Manchester City also own NYCFC in partnership with MLB side the New York Yankees. They start their inaugural season in MLS next March and sending their big signings to affiliate clubs to stay sharp ahead of them is a sensible move.
Melbourne City in Australia’s A-League are another club that are affiliated with Manchester City and former Barcelona star David Villa will spend the time between now and the start of the next MLS season playing with them.