As reports continue to circulate that Frank Lampard could be set to extend his loan stint at Manchester City until the end of the season, fans of sister club New York City FC and MLS in general are growing ever-anxious.
Lampard joined NYCFC on a two-year deal this summer after leaving Chelsea, but made the temporary switch to the Etihad Stadium as the expansion club won’t begin their inaugural season until March.
Scheduled to return to the US on January 1 ahead of pre-season, the ex-England international was only expected to fill a bit-part role for Manuel Pellegrini’s side but, with five goals and four assists in 11 total appearances, his impact has been far greater than even he himself anticipated.
Lampard has so far remained coy amid rumours of an extended stay but, with Pellegrini hinting at his interest in keeping him at the club for a potential title fight with Chelsea, most now appear to believe that the Blues legend will still be in Manchester come the spring.
However, City Football Group, who operate both clubs, have apparently ruled out such a scenario, according to reports in the US, with ownership placing huge importance on the establishment and success of New York from the offset.
The club’s major draw alongside fellow star signing David Villa, it’s realised how much of a sham it would look to supporters were the US club to be without Lampard for the start of their first season, with CFG eager not come across as treating MLS with indifference.
However, one compromise which has been suggested, and appears to be in discussions, is that NYCFC hold the early stages of their preseason at City’s new £200 million training complex, allowing Lampard to both train with his new teammates and continue to turn out for the Blues.
The club aren’t in fact scheduled to begin training until January 21, with preseason wrapping up at the Carolina Challenge Cup in late-February, suggesting that Lampard could well be able to remain in England for at least six more weeks than first planned.
NYCFC director of football and ex-City midfielder Claudio Reyna didn’t rule out that as a possibility either when questioned at the team’s recent jersey unveiling, telling reporters: “We’re thinking about that as an option.
“They just moved into a brand-new facility, which is one of the best in the world. We just need to figure out how that works, but it’s an option yes.”
It appears that there is indeed the potential for Lampard’s loan to be extended by a few weeks, therefore, but claims that the 36-year-old is set to remain with City for a title run-in continue to come across as more than premature.