Lampard: I would have enjoyed Melbourne City challenge

Manchester City gun Frank Lampard says he would have enjoyed playing for Melbourne City if a move to the A-League had been engineered over the summer.

Speaking on Fox Sports’ Shootout program on Sunday evening, the former Chelsea champion discussed a somewhat embarrassing transfer saga for Melbourne City during the pre-season, one that ultimately saw Lampard stay at Melbourne’s parent club, Manchester City, for the Premier League season.

Former Spanish striker David Villa and Lampard were both meant to move to another City Group club, New York City, for the club’s inaugural MLS season this year. As a result, both players were linked to John van ‘t Schip’s team in order to maintain match fitness in the A-League as the MLS season has a later start date.

Villa eventually made it to Melbourne for a mere four matches before heading to the United States, but Lampard’s move never happened as Manchester City opted to keep him in the Premier League, where he’s again starred with five goals in 19 matches as he did during a 13-year stint with Chelsea.

“I wouldn’t have had a problem with it,” said Lampard, when asked about his failed move to Melbourne.

“I’ve never been to Australia so it would have been a great experience in itself there, but it just didn’t work out.

 “This (going to Manchester City) came along slightly after and I took the opportunity to carry on playing in the Premier League at a really competitive level.

“I’m sure it might have been on the cards and the fact that David Villa went there and played some games shows that there is a link and players maybe will be able to move, particularly when they need games like David and myself did at the time.

“I’m sure you enjoyed having (Villa) there and the quality he brought to the team and I know Damien Duff etc, so I certainly wouldn’t have had a problem to go to Melbourne, I would have enjoyed that challenge.”

The saga of Lampard’s contract didn’t end there, though, with his form for Manchester City seeing Manuel Pellegrini keep him at Etihad Stadium, much to the anger of New Yorkers who’d been looking forward to seeing the Lampard/Villa combination in action in the MLS.

In July, Manchester City’s website stated Lampard was on a two-year contract with New York and had been signed on a temporary basis from the sister club. But the Citizens have since admitted a mistake was made.

Instead it’s emerged, there was merely ‘a head of terms commitment’ with New York that started on January 1 this year.

“The statement on the NYCFC website in July saying Lampard’s two-year contract took effect from Aug 1, 2014 was a mistake,” said Manchester City in another statement.

“(The) initial statement on City’s website that it was a loan was also an error.”