Frank Lampard will join up with Manchester City next week as he begins a loan spell with the English Premier League champions. Although the club have not yet officially announced the deal, City boss Manuel Pellegrini confirmed on Saturday night that the England midfielder, who signed for City's sister outfit New York City FC this summer ending 13 trophy-laden years at Chelsea, will join up with his team on Wednesday.
With the 2015 Major League Soccer season not starting until the spring, there was speculation that Lampard would head to Melbourne City, the third club owned by the City Football Group, on a short-term deal. But following the friendly against Olympiacos in Minneapolis, Pellegrini confirmed the 36-year-old will now move to the Etihad until the new year before the next American season begins in March.
"As you know Frank has signed a contract with New York City and will start working here (the United States) in January as the season starts in March," Pellegrini told a post-match press conference televised by Sky Sports News. "From next Wednesday he will start working with our team and will play for us until then. At the moment he will work with the squad and be a member of the squad. He will fight for a position.
"He knows we have a very good team, we have a lot of players in his position. He is one player more. We have a lot of games particularly with the Champions League - so he's very important for our team."
Lampard was unveiled in New York on 24 July and admitted he was eager to keep himself fit ahead of his American adventure.
"I'm going to keep fit, that's the main thing. How I do that is not clear yet," he said at his presentation with the MLS side. "I'm going to sit round with people at the club and sort that out."
Lampard began his career at West Ham but moved to Stamford Bridge in 2001, making 649 appearances and becoming the Blues' all-time top scorer with 211 goals. He will join Fernando, Bacary Sagna and Willy Caballero as new arrivals at the Etihad over the summer as City attempt to defend the title they narrowly won ahead of Liverpool last term.
A successful defence would hand Lampard a fourth Premier League crown to go with the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, four FA Cups and two League Cups he won at Stamford Bridge.
Spaniard David Villa has been New York City FC's other high-profile signing ahead of their MLS debut next year and he has also been loaned out within the City system, moving to Melbourne City to maintain his fitness ahead of the American season.
Short-term loan deals from the MLS have become relatively commonplace with Thierry Henry rejoining Arsenal, Landon Donovan having spells at Everton, Clint Dempsey returning to Fulham and David Beckham turning out for AC Milan in recent seasons. A spell in the Premier League could also help Lampard extend his England career, which has so far seen him win 106 caps, scoring 29 goals.