After a long courtship and a series of rumors, Frank Lampard is an MLS player.
New York City FC introduced Lampard as its newest player signing during an announcement in Brooklyn on Thursday, adding him to its growing stable of players ahead of the club's 2015 MLS expansion season. NYCFC director of football Claudio Reyna confirmed that Lampard is signed on a two-year deal.
Lampard, Chelsea's all-time leading scorer with 211 goals, is 36 and coming off another World Cup with England. Lampard has been out of contract since the end of the Premier League 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 the central midfielder 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 joins Spain's all-time leading scorer David Villa as big-name talent on manager Jason Kreis' growing roster. In addition to those two, NYCFC has defender Jeb Brovsky and goalkeeper Josh Saunders signed for the 2015 season.
Villa will go on loan with Australian club Melbourne City – one of three City Football Group clubs in addition to Manchester City and NYCFC – but it is unclear whether Lampard will do the same. Reyna and Lampard said the decision on how he'd stay match fit until the 2015 season is yet to be determined.