In a move that shouldn’t come as a complete surprise,Manchester City have extended star midfielder Frank Lampard’s contract until the end of the 2014-15 season, as reported by MailOnline Sport:
The Citizens released a short statement via their official websiteconfirming the news: “Manchester City can confirm that it has extended Frank Lampard’s contract up to the end of Manchester City’s season, enabling his continued participation in both domestic and European campaigns.”
BBC Sport’s David Ornstein provided more details, explaining the particulars behind the move:
Lampard “signed” for New York City FC in July but with the new MLS season not starting until March, he joined Manchester City – who part-own New York City – until January.
Crucially, this was not a loan deal but a short-term contract signed as a free agent. It is understood the contract was for the entire season, with a break clause that was agreed would be activated at midnight tonight.
City needed that break clause removed if Lampard was to remain with them, which happened today.
But there was no need to re-sign him or re-register him with the Premier League because he was already on a contract until the end of the season and therefore registered as a City player – eligible forSunderland and beyond. All that needed to happen was removal of the break clause.
Amendments to existing contracts require Premier League board ratification, which happened today.
The 36-year-old became a free agent after his contract with Chelsearan out in the summer of 2014, and after completing a move to New York City FC, he was sent back to the Premier League to keep up his fitness.
Lampard quickly made a strong impact for the defending champions, and by December, Manuel Pellegrini openly expressed his desire to keep the former England international around a little longer. With these kinds of statistics, via Sky Sports, that wish was understandable:
City will be without star midfielder Yaya Toure for the duration of AFCON, and Lampard adds a ton of experience and quality that will serve the club in his absence.
The extension means Lampard will miss at least three months of the MLS season, as well as training camps with his new club, NYFC. The new MLS franchise is a sister club of Manchester City, leading to some fans questioning the legitimacy of the loan deal, with the Citizens’ circumventing Fair Play regulations.
The Associated Press’ Rob Harris perhaps put it best:
Regardless, this is undoubtedly an excellent move for City. Lampard will provide Pellegrini with extra depth while Toure is away on international duty, as well as an experienced and proven scorer to use off the bench once his Ivorian team-mate returns.
The Citizens will need all the help they can get to continue their European run and defend their Premier League title, and they could do a lot worse than Lampard.