EARLIER this week Manchester City confirmed the signing of Frank Lampard on a short-loan deal from New York City Football Club.
The new Major League Soccer side are currently recruiting players ahead of their debut season in US Soccer in January 2015. Last month they announced that the former Chelsea ace would be their second international signing after Spanish striker David Villa joined earlier in the summer.
However over the past few days there has been much debate as to why Lampard has gone to City, with many questioning his decision and others stating that Chelsea fans will feel betrayed.
That notion is completely ludicrous with many people missing a valuable point: Manchester City owns New York City FC and so can transfer whoever they please to each other thus monitoring the fitness of their own players.
A ‘Shock’ move many newspapers called it. Really? How is it so? Man City are joint owners of New York City FC, along with the New York Yankees baseball team, and can freely loan players to each other.
Anyone who calls that a shock is frankly out of touch with football as we see it today. If anything it was kind of obvious that Lampard would go to City. It would have been the same if he had gone to Melbourne City in Australia. Why? Because Manchester City own them too. And who have they just signed on a short-term loan deal? Oh yes David Villa.
So this wasn’t a shock move.
Whilst there are some who are saying that Lampard will play a vital role in the first few months of the Premier League season, his five month stay is purely for fitness reasons.
Some forget that the MLS is currently midway through their domestic season with the play-offs in November/December. The 2015 season doesn’t officially start until March which would mean SEVEN months on the sidelines for the 36-year old.
Between now and January the former West Ham youth player needs to keep himself match fit. And is there a better way to do that than to join the current Premier League champions in the best league in the world?
Chelsea fans have stated that Lampard should have stayed with them until January but many aren’t realising that Jose Mourinho’s management style wouldn’t suit that.
Indeed in the past the ‘Special One’ has even said that he doesn’t get rid of his best players during the season as it disrupts team unity.
Admittedly Lampard wouldn’t be a starter at Stamford Bridge, however, why let him join the Blues when Man City can monitor the player’s fitness and match performance levels themselves? Also the majority of last season was spent on Chelsea’s substitutes bench, hence why he ended up leaving the club this summer.
With the squad depth the size of City’s, and their participation in European competition, it gives Lampard the perfect opportunity to prove he still has what it takes at the top level to compete. Any worries that New York City fans had of Lampard struggling for match practice were quickly erased by Manuel Pellegrini.
“He knows we have a very good team, we have a lot of players in his position. He is one player more. We have a lot of games particularly with the Champions League – so he’s very important for our team.” That was the view of the City boss following his side’s 5-4 defeat on penalties by Olympiakos in their latest pre-season friendly.
Ahead of his move to Manchester Lampard said: “This is a new chapter of my career and I’m really excited about the experience. 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.”
Again he was emphasising his point that the move was mainly for fitness reasons. Training with some of the best players in world football will wreak dividends for Lampard and his American club ahead of their new adventure next year.
After making 649 appearances for Chelsea and scoring 211 goals in 13 years Lampard is a cult hero in South London after a trophy-laden career.
He has won the Premier League three times, four FA Cups, the League Cup twice and a win apiece in the Champions League and Europa League.
He hopes to add MLS Cup to his trophy cabinet in the next few years and said the move Stateside “ticks all the right boxes for me. It’s very exciting.”
All in all it is a fantastic opportunity for Lampard to continue to train at the highest level before he departs for ‘The Big Apple’ in the New Year.
It’s not a shock move and it’s certainly not a betrayal of Chelsea. It is simply a chance for him to keep his fitness intact before New York City Football Club and the MLS season comes calling.