Frank Lampard was released from his Chelsea contract earlier this summer after 13 years in west London. During that time, Super Frank notched 211 goals to become the club’s all-time leading goalscorer and won 13 trophies at the highest level.
As NYCFC will not compete in the league until March 2015, Lampard needed to find a club to train with until then, much as Thierry Henry did in 2012.
Melbourne was mooted as an option, but Lampard was reportedly unwilling to be so far from his family for such a long time. Therefore, a loan deal with Man City has been secured until January 2015, per Telegraph Sport.
Chelsea fans have had mixed reactions to the news that Lampard will join another Premier League club, albeit on a very short-term loan deal. David Johnstone from CFCUK, the unofficial Chelsea fanzine, spoke to BBC Sport after the deal was confirmed:
He told me in the first week in July that he would not go to any other Premier League club and that he had season tickets for this year at Stamford Bridge and would come down.
But he is an absolute professional and if New York City want to loan him out he will do as he is told.
That professionalism is what has made Lampard the legend that he is today. He would obviously prefer not to play against Chelsea, and according to Joe Bernstein at the Daily Mail, he will be able to avoid returning to Stamford Bridge as an opposition player.
In his statement following the confirmation of his departure, per ESPN, Lampard reiterated the bond he shares with the supporters:
Finally and most importantly, I would like to thank the Chelsea fans. I believe they are the greatest fans in world football. You have supported me from the moment I arrived. Not only on the pitch, but in difficult moments in my personal life off the pitch. I will never forget.
I feel honoured to have shared so many special times with you. Bolton, Amsterdam, Munich, the list goes on and on. I, and we as a team, could not have achieved those moments without your support.
Whatever the next challenge is for me I will always be amongst you and have Chelsea in my home and in my heart.
He may believe that the supporters were the key to Chelsea’s decade of success, but they know that without him, things could have been very different.
His footballing intelligence to make the right run at the right time is what led him to score more than 20 goals for five consecutive seasons.
His unselfish nature saw him assist a further 152 goals throughout his Chelsea career, per Transfermarkt.
His leadership skills held the team together whenever John Terry was absent, most notably in Munich.
Without Lampard’s work, Chelsea would not have achieved half as much as they have. Six months in Manchester can’t take that away.
The tiny minority of fans who are calling him a traitor, per talkSPORT, need to have a long think about what they are really saying, especially when the long-term future is taken into consideration.
Jose Mourinho has made it clear that he expects Lampard to return to Chelsea in some capacity, sooner rather than later, per David Hytner at The Guardian.
If he does come back as a coach, those same fans who are raging against him as a traitor will no doubt offer him a hero’s welcome, underlining the hypocrisy of their current stance.
Lampard believes that he still has years of playing ahead of him, and nobody who has followed his Chelsea career could possibly begrudge him that. It will be difficult for the Blues to see their hero lining up in the sky blue of City, but it will leave no lasting impact on everything he has done for Chelsea.