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Report: Frank Lampard agrees to join New York City FC; David Villa to follow

May 31, 2014, 3:48 PM EDT

Chelsea v Norwich City - Premier League Getty Images

New York City FC may have sent it’s first shockwave through Major League Soccer. According to reports out of England, Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard has agreed to join impending expansion team, who will begin play in March 2015. Breaking away from his national team’s World Cup preparations, Lampard reportedly spent Saturday at the home of NYC FC’s co-owners, Manchester City, to work out the final details of his move.

According to the Daily Mirror, the veteran midfielder was joined at Carrington by Atlético Madrid forward David Villa, who is also expected to sign with the new MLS club. The players’ contracts with their current clubs expire this summer, with Lampard expected to take a large pay cut to join the new MLS franchise:

Both deals are a huge statement of intent from City’s US franchise which kicks off in the new Major League Soccer season next March. Lampard is understood to be have agreed to a basic wage significantly less than the £150,000-a-week that he picked up at Chelsea.

That pay packet is expected to be boosted substantially by bonuses however with the England midfielder’s signing a massive coup.

Lampard, 35, had been linked with a move to the LA Galaxy last season before signing a one-year contract extension with the Blues. The possibility of a similar extension had been recently reported, though if he’s agreed to move to New York, the Chelsea icon will end his 13-year, 211-goal stay at the club.

Villa’s stay at Atlético Madrid has been far shorter, but the capture of Spain’s all-time leading goalscorer could prove as impactful on the field. At 33 years old, Villa scored 15 all-competition goals for the Spanish champions and would leave La Liga with 247 career league goals.

For Jason Kreis and the rest of New York City FC, the signings would be a huge but expected statement of intent from Major League Soccer’s richest side. Jointly owned by Manchester City and Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees, New York City FC was expected to use its Designated Player spots to bring in an infusion of high-profile talent. Between Lampard’s legacy at Chelsea and Villa’s success at club and international level, the club’s primed to do just that.

  1. thedeadlockvictim - May 31, 2014 at 5:09 PM

    I’m glad to see the league working so hard to dispel the international perception of MLS as a retirement home.

    • Sgc - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:46 AM

      I assume this post was sarcastic, but the mere fact of 130 voters on it does a lot to undercut the point it was trying to make.

  2. braxtonrob - May 31, 2014 at 6:08 PM


  3. Nick - May 31, 2014 at 6:10 PM

    Definitely agree to a point. Difference between players today vs player 10-15 years ago is in how they take care of their bodies. There are probably more 30+ year old players today that are playing/contributing at decent levels than in previous generations. But yeah, age definitely still makes me double take, but its no longer an outright disqualifier.

  4. mvktr2 - May 31, 2014 at 7:04 PM

    From a business standpoint of being a new entity, an unknown within their market, going after ‘names’ makes a lot of sense. Signing aging players with limited fuel in the tank is not a long term plan for a club preaching such lofty platitudes, I hope this is a one-off.

    • soccerphanatic - Jun 1, 2014 at 12:55 AM

      It does allow them to develop some young talent while building a fan base by signing “names”. Any homegrown players or draftees will take some time to develop into stars, and what better way to do that than by having a young midfielder or striker learn from the likes of Frank Lampard and David Villa? Plus, it creates some immediate media and on field competition with the Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill-led Red Bulls.

  5. djjeffhall - May 31, 2014 at 7:54 PM

    That is an amazing announcement. Lampard and Villa are still top flight players. Being old enough to remember the NASL (Washington Diplomats forever.) and their penchant for signing every formerly great player available, I can say this sends a completely differnt signal about the strength of the MLS.

  6. windsor9101 - May 31, 2014 at 8:26 PM

    It should be the New York Cosmos, but awesome news!

  7. bellerophon30 - May 31, 2014 at 8:42 PM

    Interesting pair of signings, given that both of them are past their primes, but still have good years left in them. No doubt speculation will be about DP #3, but I bet they wait on that one til next summer to see who’s available.

    Gotta wonder if Villa and Lampard will eschew doing an August-February loan spell and just rest and take some time off. Might be good for their bodies going forward, however much it’ll impact their sharpness. But given that both are playing this summer, it might be something they think about. Though I would die laughing if they got loaned to the Cosmos, that would be funny.

  8. nottinghamforest13 - May 31, 2014 at 9:33 PM

    They are instantly the best midfielder & striker in the league. Says quite a bit about the MLS.

    • jdfsquared - May 31, 2014 at 10:34 PM

      Total falsehood. In their primes, perhaps. Not anymore.

      • mph122175 - Jun 1, 2014 at 1:43 AM

        Duh to you

      • nottinghamforest13 - Jun 1, 2014 at 7:37 AM

        Who then is clearly better at their roles and positions?

    • bellerophon30 - May 31, 2014 at 10:41 PM

      I’ll give you Villa, but I don’t know about Lampard being the best midfielder, my MB90 loyalty kicked in upon hearing that. And Villa will depend on what kind of service he gets.

      • nottinghamforest13 - Jun 1, 2014 at 7:36 AM

        Any striker depends on the service he gets so that’s a rather facile statement. There’s also this bizarre obsession with Bradley just because he is at the moment the hughest rated American midfielder. He’s a mediocre holding midfielder. No more, no less. He was third or fourth on the depth chart at Roma.

      • bellerophon30 - Jun 1, 2014 at 9:54 AM

        Ah yes, thank you nottingham for getting nasty for no good reason. Bradley may have been the 14th man at Roma……but Roma would go undefeated in MLS probably, so I don’t know what that proves. He came back for the coin (triple), not solely because of playing time. And as for service….do you think that an expansion MLS team is going to be near the same quality as La Liga or Chelsea? We’ll find out what happens when Villa and Frank have to play with lesser players, and see how they handle it. Not every European player can handle it.

      • Sgc - Jun 1, 2014 at 11:45 AM

        If it had solely been a playing time issue, Bradley could have gone back to a Chievo, where he’d have been a guaranteed starter.

  9. happylars - Jun 1, 2014 at 9:01 AM

    If they were to stay at Chelsea/Atleti , respectively, which they both COULD, questioning their quality and play would be significantly less. Once they come to MLS, criticism comes to them and the league. Still less than 20 years old and sitting 5th on the national radar, I’ll take names like this especially since they BOTH made their national teams for the World Cup.

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