England international Frank Lampard has held talks with Major League Soccer club New York City about a possible move to the US early next year. The 35-year-old, who has just called time on a 13-year stay at Premier League side Chelsea, will be England’s vice-captain when the World Cup kicks off in Brazil next week.
The deal on offer from New York City, a club set up and backed by Manchester City owner, Sheikh Mansour, is said to be one similar to what the player got at Chelsea. Lampard reportedly met the owners in Manchester last weekend but is thought to be wanted by up to 16 clubs, including City’s sister club, Melbourne Heart in Australia.
Although Lampard will have time to make a decision, it is thought a move to New York is his preference. The club have already demonstrated the extent of their ambition by securing Spainish forward David Villa from Spanish champions Atlético Madrid. The New York outfit paid around £5 million for the 32-year-old – the player described the offer as “irresistible”.
Although talks have gone well, the one stumbling block for Lampard, should he accept the offer to move to New York, is the MLS season does not begin until March. This may see him sign a short-term deal with a Premier League club so he can maintain match fitness. His Chelsea career saw him become the club’s all-time leading scorer with 211 goals from midfield. He also picked up three Premier League titles, Champions League, Europa League, four FA Cups and two League Cups.
If Lampard does make the move across the Atlantic, he will follow a number of Europeans who left the top leagues to play in the US. David Beckham left Real Madrid to join LA Galaxy where Irishman Robbie Keane currently plies his trade. Former Tottenham Hotspur striker Jermain Defoe now plays for Toronto FC.
Lampard is currently in Miami with the England squad ahead of two friendlies against Ecuador and Honduras before kicking off the country’s campaign against 2006 winners, Italy. England will use the Miami base to gain experience playing against Latin American teams while acclimatising to the humidity that awaits in Brazil. Lampard will be expected to play alongside long-time midfield partner Steven Gerrard when the tournament kicks off in earnest, with both players unlikely to play a full 90 minutes in either of the the friendlies due to the fact they are both well into their 30s and come to the tournament on the back of a grueling Premier League season. Both sides finished in the top three and came close to winning the title before Manchester City snatched it for the second time in three seasons.
Talks between Lampard and New York City are ongoing and the former West Ham United player is said to want to take his time before committing to a new club. Such is his love for Chelsea – demonstrated by his passionate open letter to the fans yesterday – he may find it difficult putting on an opposing shirt and playing against the Blues. A move abroad will offer him both a lucrative and ideal way out.