David Villa has secured his move to Major League Soccer expansion franchise New York City FC ahead of the club's debut next year.
The franchise's official Twitter account confirmed the news Monday:
Villa, 32, tweeted his reaction to the historic move:
The highly decorated ex-Chelsea midfielder and the Spanish title-winning striker were at Manchester City's Carrington complex on Saturday to complete the internal formalities of their respective moves.
The club, which is owned by Manchester City and the New York Yankees, is gearing up to make an immediate impact in its maiden campaign. Two marquee signings like Lampard and Villa would be a major step toward achieving that.
Simon Johnson of the London Evening Standard passed along comments Lampard made in Red magazine about his future. He was unsure about a return to Chelsea despite wanting to play at least a couple more seasons:
I don't know if I'll be at Chelsea next season. I'd like to carry on for two or three more years but it would be good to end on a high. So if that means it all ends tomorrow, I wouldn't have any regrets.
Now it sounds like those days with the Blues are indeed coming to an end. Furthermore, joining Villa—who played for Atletico Madrid this past season—at New York City FC would be a boon for both the new club and MLS itself, which is still trying to make an impact on the global scale.
Cristian Nyari of Bundesliga Fanatic believes the signings would definitely help:
The capture of Villa is particularly impressive. The Spain international helped Atletico win La Liga, and he also featured in the recent Champions League final in Lisbon.
Set to play his part for Spain at the World Cup, it's fair to say that had Villa chosen to stay in Europe, he would have had no shortage of admirers.
Not only is Villa still playing at a high level, but the lesser competition in MLS will give him a chance to truly stand out. And it certainly seems like the Yankee Stadium-based club is only getting started with its high-profile player recruitment.
Although MLS struggles to compete with the top European leagues, it's growing into a strong alternative for star players late in their careers. Perhaps over time it will begin to gain more traction. Additions like those by the New York City side help the process.
As for NYC FC, a few more big signings along with some solid depth additions and the side could very well compete for a title sooner rather than later.