Frank Lampard attends first day of Manchester City training as club confirm he can miss awkward January return to Stamford Bridge - Premier League - Football - The Independent

Frank Lampard attends first day of Manchester City training as club confirm he can miss awkward January return to Stamford Bridge

The former Chelsea man enjoyed his first day of training at Manchester City as he began a six-month loan deal

Manchester City will permit Frank Lampard to miss the last game of his contract with the club, in order to avoid a potentially awkward reunion with Chelsea.

City have signed the 36-year-old former Blues midfielder on a six-month loan deal until January, upon which he will cross the Atlantic to join up with his New York City FC teammates for the start of the MLS season in March.

However, the last game of his stay in Manchester would be at Stamford Bridge on 31 January. It would be a reunion that Lampard is keen to avoid, and City are willing and flexible enough to let him do so.

Lampard trained with his new club for the first time on Wednesday ahead of the reumption of the Premier League season, following a summer in which he became a free agent for the first time in his career.

 

The former West Ham youth team graduate is Chelsea's all-time record goalscorer with 147 strikes - and is said to be understandably reticent about damaging his relationship with his former club.

Lampard will pull on Gareth Barry's vacated No 18 shirt and seems excited by the prospect of turning out regularly at the Etihad.

"Joining up with Manchester City is a fantastic opportunity for me to continue to train and play at the top level and make sure I am in top condition for New York City," he said.

"It has been an amazing few days for me since the unveiling in  Brooklyn and everyone connected with both clubs has been fantastic to me. This is a new chapter of my career and I’m really excited about the experience."

Lampard was presented as a New York City FC player in July Lampard was presented as a New York City FC player in July

For Manuel Pellegrini, the midfielder represents a vastly experienced goalscoring option to bring off the bench - and the Chilean appears equally happy with the temporary marriage.

"Frank is a world-class midfielder and this is an opportunity which works perfectly for everyone, the player, Manchester City, and New York City," said Pellegrini.

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Lampard's Manchester welcome has been disrupted somewhat however by the complaints of Arsene Wenger.

The Arsenal boss, whose side meet Manchester City in the Community Shield on Sunday suggested earlier this week that Lampard's deal with City might breach Financial Fair Play regulations.

Manchester City, New York City FC and Melbourne City are all owned by the same holding company, City Football Group.

Lampard left Chelsea in the summeras the club's record goalscorer Lampard left Chelsea in the summeras the club's record goalscorer

That agreement appeared to have irked Wenger, who said, "Lampard’s move to Manchester City is a surprise as after the statements we heard, it looks like all these “City” clubs will feed the main club.

"I heard they want to buy five clubs all around the world. I don’t know the rules well enough.

"They bought the New York franchise for $100m in the States to play next season and at moment the players they sign cannot play until next year.

"They will register in the clubs where they will put them and they can get out on loan. Is it a way to get around (financial) fair play? I don’t know."

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