He stresses no official confirmation is available yet, but that all indications are Lampard will stay in England a little longer. McDonnell also believes Yaya Toure's international commitments have made an extension inevitable:
With Yaya Toure on African Nations Cup duty for up to five weeks at the start of January, Pellegrini has told the City hierarchy of the need to hold on to Lampard for longer. ... Although Lampard's loan deal runs out on New Year's Eve, an agreement is in place for him to stay with City until at least mid-February, with the new MLS season not starting until March.
The news is certainly a welcome boost for City's title chances. Even at 36, Lampard has defied Father Time to play a key role in City's bid to retain the Premier League trophy.
He's hit four goals in league action, per WhoScored.com. The veteran's knack for scoring could prove invaluable for a City team currently beset with injuries upfront.
The Citizens currently have Edin Dzeko, Stevan Jovetic and Sergio Aguero all sidelined, according to a report from Andy Hampson of the Press Association (h/t the Daily Mail). Even though Aguero could make an earlier return than expected, per another report from McDonnell, City still need to manufacture goals from elsewhere in the team.
Lampard will do that and also help Brazilian bruisers Fernando and Fernandinho compensate for Toure's loss at the heart of City's midfield. In this context, Lampard staying will provide significant help, although his stay is likely to irk Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.
The Gunners chief previously questioned the moral validity of the original loan deal, per Sky Sports; however, City boss Manuel Pellegrini is unlikely to agree or let any such concerns dampen the mood now that Lampard is sticking around a little longer.
Pellegrini's squad reduced the gap to leaders Chelsea to a mere three points heading into the fixtures on Boxing Day. Lampard's experience and influence will be vital during the critical start to the second half of this title race.