Frank Lampard has finally spoken.
The English midfielder — who has sparked plenty of outrage for extending his loan deal at Manchester City instead of heading to Major League Soccer to play for New York City FC in January — has released a statement on his Facebook page in which he says he will head to MLS as soon as the current Premier League season is over.
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Over the past few days the Guardian newspaper claimed that there “was no deal” between Man City and their sister club New York City FC over Lampard and the former Chelsea superstar had only signed a deal with the City Football Group [CFG], a company owned by Sheikh Mansour who runs soccer teams in Manchester, New York and Melbourne, and not MLS.
36-year-old Lampard has been so irked by the comments and speculation surrounding his move to MLS, or lack thereof so far, that he felt compelled to set the record straight as he confirmed he will be heading Stateside as soon as possible and is looking forward to representing NYCFC.
Here’s Lampard’s statement in full:
I want to make it completely clear about my situation as I have read a lot of lies and nonsense over the last few days. When released from Chelsea last year at the end of my contract I signed a commitment to play in NYCFC for two years starting January 1st 2015. I was then offered the chance to train and be part of the Man City squad in the interim to keep myself in the best shape going into New York.
This period has since been extended by Man City and I now will start playing for NYCFC at the end of this current Premier League season. There has always been a constant dialogue between all parties in this time to find the best solution for everyone. I can say that I am very excited about arriving in New York and giving everything to the team to make us a success in the MLS as soon as possible. Thanks everyone for your ongoing support and I wish everyone a healthy and happy 2015!
So, that’s case closed then… right?
Even if Lampard does turn up from June onwards to play for NYCFC in its inagural season, this deal and decision to extend his stay at Man City will still leave a bad taste in the mouth of most MLS fans. Lampard and the NYCFC franchise have a lot to make up to their fans and to restore their image in the Big Apple. That said, who really say Lampard becoming an integral part of Man City’s title charge?
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The veteran midfielder was supposed to just train and help out with the Citizens needed him before he headed to New York in January. Instead, he has scored six goals in 16 appearances and Manuel Pellegrini believes his experience is vital in helping City towards winning the Premier League and succeeding in Europe. Lampard’s impact at City has surprised everyone following his departure from Chelsea last summer, and the fact the he can still score goals and influence games at the highest level means NYCFC are getting one heck of a player.
Let’s hope the ex-Chelsea man can score plenty of goals and fire his side towards a successful first few seasons in MLS. Then, and only then, this nightmare start to his MLS career will be all but a distant memory. Perhaps.