New York City Football Club made their second major signing, acquiring the services of England and former Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard. The team set to debut in the MLS at the start of the 2015 season has already signed Spain and former Atletico Madrid attacker David Villa. The new expansion team, whose rights are jointly owned by both Manchester City and the New York Yankees, have made it a priority to bring in big European names for their debut season in Yankee Stadium.
Frank Lampard came up in the West Ham youth system and debuted as a professional for the West London club, who are famous for developing talent. He played at West Ham from 1995-2001 before being purchased by another West London club, Chelsea, for 11 million euros in June 2001. During his time with the Hammers, he also broke into the English national team in 1999. He has now made over 100 appearances for England, scoring 29 goals from his midfield role. Even though he was widely considered one of the best players in the modern game for many years, he was never quite able to replicate his club form for his country. He was part of what was known as the “golden generation” of England players, along with the like of Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney and club mate Ashley Cole. However, his generation was never able to really make an impact on any major tournament.
After making the move from West Ham to Chelsea, Lampard developed into one of the finest midfielders in the European game. He became known as one of the best box-to-box midfielders in the game and also one of the most consistent players at any position. His ability to score from the midfield made him Chelsea’s all-time leading goal scorer in 2014. He won numerous trophies during his time at Chelsea, including the 2012 Champions League, four FA Cups, and three Premier League titles all while being the vice captain behind John Terry. A very impressive part of Lampard’s overall consistency was the fact that during his time for the Blues he endured many coaching changes, and, yet, was a true focal point of every manager’s plans while at Chelsea. He was asked to play many different roles in the midfield and played them all well, never complaining about any of them. He personified class and talent and he will always be remembered as a legend in West London for just that.
NYCFC’s signings of both Lampard and Villa are interesting because the team will not debut in the MLS until 2015, leaving them without a place to ply their trade for all of 2014. David Villa was immediately transferred to Australian team Melbourne FC so he did not have to sit out an entire year and Lampard will likely follow suit. The next moves made by the New York City outfit will be interesting considering, unlike in Europe, the MLS has a salary cap, meaning the next signings will likely have to earn a lot less than their first two high-profile signings.
Frank Lampard has followed in the footsteps of players like David Beckham, Thiery Henry, and Robbie Keane by moving to the MLS from a high-profile European Club. He will join David Villa in 2015 as the big names for the new MLS team New York City FC. His game will likely transfer to the American game very well as he will be able to play with his usual work rate and have a great striker in front of him in Villa to create opportunities. Securing the Lampard’s signature is another great signing for the MLS, who are slowly but surely accumulating a great deal of talent for their growing league.
Commentary by Max Petkevicius