Ahead of the Galaxy’s home clash with Lampard’s New York City on Sunday, club president Chris Klein confirmed to MLSsoccer.com that a deal was in place to sign the then-Chelsea midfielder in the summer of 2013 – until things at Stamford Bridge changed.
With Mourinho returning to the club for his second spell, the Portuguese manager was quick to convince the Blues legend to spurn the lures of LA for another season in west London, and that was that.
“He's a very good player and a good guy and someone we talked to for a long time, and timing just didn't work out, I think, on both sides,” said Klein. “It didn't fall out over money or someone not wanting to be there, but [Chelsea] had changes, and I think when Mourinho went back there, he wanted [Lampard] to stay.
“He's a valuable player as a leader and as a player on the field. He decided to stay, and he's a Chelsea legend, so who could argue with that?
“After that, we moved on. We didn't have spots, and New York took interest,” he continued. “Ultimately, we think a lot of Frank as a person, as a professional, and we want great players in this league. New York had an interest, and so they were the ones that ultimately ended up going after him.”
Nevertheless, the Galaxy should ultimately be feeling pretty content with how events played out given recent developments.
The California outfit still managed to claim a third MLS Cup title in four seasons in 2014 without a big-name Englishman in their line-up, while the recent arrival of Gerrard – as well as ex-Tottenham Hotspur attacker Giovani dos Santos – has made them automatic favourites for a second-straight championship.
The 35-year-old former Liverpool captain is already a key player for his team too, which is much more than can be said for Lampard.
After the Manchester City loan fiasco delayed his NYCFC debut by 373 days, the high-priced DP has managed just one start and one substitute appearance over the past month due to a nagging calf problem, and he could now face a battle to get back into the starting XI due to the outstanding form of fellow midfielder Kwadwo Poku.
The expansion side themselves have also been going through some serious struggles during their inaugural campaign, although a recent up-turn in form has since seen them rise to sixth-place in the Eastern Conference.
They face an extremely tough run-in in their bid to make the play-offs, however, and the weekend’s clash with LA at the StubHub Center will prove a formidable test of their post-season credentials.
Whether head coach Jason Kreis calls on Lampard’s experience in his attempt to get his side a result remains to be seen but, if it’s Gerrard who ends up proving the difference on the afternoon, then the MLS Cup holders might want to consider thanking Mourinho.