New York City FC will make another major player announcement on Thursday morning, and all signs point to another World Cup veteran and longtime European star heading to The Big Apple – not one from Barcelona, though.
Goal USA has reported that Frank Lampard will be introduced as the club's fourth player, and a source with knowledge of the announcement confirmed to SI.com that will indeed be the case. Lampard, Chelsea's all-time leading scorer with 211 goals, is 36 and coming off another World Cup with England. Xavi, another player who has been linked heavily with MLS, and NYCFC and the New York Red Bulls specifically, will reportedly stay with Barcelona until at least January.
Lampard has been out of contract since the end of the season, and he had previously announced he would not be re-signing with the Blues after 13 seasons at Stamford Bridge. Contract terms are unknown, but Goal reports that Lampard would make in the area of $150,000 per week – a total that, if accurate and pro-rated over the course of a year, would make him the highest-paid player in MLS.
Lampard has long been linked with a move to MLS – coming close to joining the league after the 2012-13 Premier League season until manager Jose Mourinho returned to the Chelsea bench and kept him in the mix – and talk of his move to NYCFC had picked up steam in recent weeks.
Lampard is set to join David Villa as big-name talent on Jason Kreis' growing roster. In addition to those two, NYCFC has defender Jeb Brovsky and goalkeeper Josh Saunders signed for the 2015 season.
It's unclear whether Lampard will make like Villa and be sent on loan during the fall ahead of NYCFC's first preseason. Villa, Spain's all-time leading scorer who retired from international duty after the 2014 World Cup, will play with Melbourne City – one of City Football Group's three clubs along with Manchester City and NYCFC – on loan to maintain his fitness ahead of the 2015 NYCFC expansion season. Reports in the UK have suggested Lampard will join him there.