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Lampard to Manchester City: genius or pointless?

The midfielder has completed his short-term move to the Premier League champion before linking up with New York City FC - but is it an inspired decision or mere folly?

Frank Lampard's shock move to Manchester City has been completed, with Chelsea's all-time record goalscorer joining the Premier League champion on a short-term loan deal.

But what can he bring to Manuel Pellegrini's side? Before heading off to the USA to join New York City FC in January, the England midfielder will help City defend its title.

Here, Goal looks at whether his move is inspired or a mere folly.


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EXPERIENCED LAMPARD CAN ONLY IMPROVE CITY

Frank Lampard to Manchester City is a genius move by Manuel Pellegrini. Infinitely experienced – and infinitely better than the now-sold Jack Rodwell – Lampard offers qualities City has lacked in recent seasons.

Despite the club's tremendous Premier League record over the past three campaigns, City has often fallen flat in Europe, most notably under Roberto Mancini. Now the club boasts a player who has reached two Champions League finals – winning one – on the substitutes bench.

An on-pitch general, Lampard has the nous to succeed at City, even if he only remains until January. Able to bring the best out of those around him, the midfielder may not play regularly but offers squad depth to Pellegrini, meaning Fernandinho, Yaya Toure et al will have to perform at their very best or risk losing their place in the starting XI, a threat which hasn't applied to Toure since his move from Barcelona.

The Ivory Coast star is world class but the competition supplied by Lampard can only improve him – a scary thought for opposition defenses already fearing a midfielder who scored 20 league goals last season.

Despite his age, the 36-year-old Lampard is remarkably fit and has prolonged his career through careful consideration of his body's needs. He is more than just a home-grown signing.

Though his status as home-grown undoubtedly had an impact on Pellegrini's decision to sign him, Lampard still scores goals - six in a reduced role at Chelsea in 2013-14 - and has the ability to create from deep, allowing Toure to bomb on and have more of an impact in the final third of the pitch.

Another key point is that of Financial Fair Play. Rather than spending big on another midfielder – City is instead saving in excess of 30 million pounds to sign defender Eliaquim Mangala from Porto – the move for Lampard is a shrewd one by the club's power brokers, as it will allow them to splash more cash in January should they deem it desirable.

There are few over 30 who can boast similar qualities to Lampard and he was unsurprisingly inundated with offers after announcing he will not be renewing terms at Chelsea. His choice to join New York City was perhaps not the most obvious but he has the right to finish his career on his own terms. The Premier League champion's capture of his signature therefore represents something of a coup.

Though he may not boast the star quality of such marquee midfielders as Arturo Vidal or Cesc Fabregas, Lampard could have just as big of a season.

As Arsene Wenger acknowledged after City's title triumph, the key to a winning squad lies in experience. Lampard has plenty of it.

Though his time at the Etihad may be fleeting, he could leave a lasting impression.

-By Harry Sherlock


LAMPARD WILL BENEFIT...FEW OTHERS WILL

Before Frank Lampard’s move to Manchester City had been confirmed, there were already suggestions he had asked not to be selected to face former club Chelsea on Sept. 21.

"I will talk about all those things with him but he’ll be a player for City and he’ll play every game he needs to play," Pellegrini said.

Lampard is undoubtedly a model professional, but how committed can someone with such a strong emotional bond to Chelsea – where he is all-time record goalscorer - prove to a rival's title challenge?

When Didier Drogba returned to Stamford Bridge with Galatasaray in the Champions League last season, he was lauded and celebrated as a legend by the home fans, but put in an uninspiring performance – now he is back with the Blues.
CHELSEA LATEST

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has also questioned the move. "They bought the New York franchise for $100 million in the States to play next season and at moment the players they sign cannot play until next year," he said.

"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."

All the talk at City currently is of a rejuvenated youth system fronted by Patrick Vieira at the club’s Carrington training ground and boasting a core of English players. Meanwhile, a 36-year-old has arrived at the Etihad, Jack Rodwell has made a career-resurrecting move to Sunderland despite being just 23 years old and the likes of Scott Sinclair are unlikely to break into the first team any time soon.

Lampard made 26 appearances in the Premier League last season, started 20 games and scored just six goals. He started just one more game in the season prior, but scored 15 goals – for all of his obvious qualities, this is a player whose prime is long behind him and was allowed to leave Chelsea by Mourinho, who enjoys an excellent relationship with a midfielder who proved talismanic in past title successes.

Now, Lampard must compete with the likes of Fernandinho, Yaya Toure and fellow new signing Fernando for a place in the City starting XI. How much playing time can the veteran possibly expect in his six months at the Etihad?

No doubt Lampard will benefit from the loan as he prepares to begin a new chapter in his career in the USA, and New York City FC will have a player at peak fitness by the time the new MLS season begins, but few others will.

- By Jamie Dunn

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