Lampard issue ‘finished’

Manuel Pellegrini wants a line to be drawn under the Frank Lampard contract saga saying the issue is now "finished" — while holding out the player may play for Manchester City again next season.

City yesterday admitted making mistakes in the way the former Chelsea midfielder’s move to the Etihad Stadium was reported. It was announced on New Year’s Eve that he would remain with the Premier League champions until the end of the season. That announcement has delayed his debut with sister club New York until midway through their first Major League Soccer campaign to the anger of many fans in the United States.

City boss Pellegrini said: “I think it’s an issue which is finished. Frank now is here. I know that there a lot of different opinions about Frank, about that. I respect all of them, but the decision is taken already and Frank will stay here until the end of the season.”

With Yaya Toure heading to the African Nations Cup, City were understandably keen to keep Lampard after his return of seven goals, largely as a substitute, but in doing so they have angered the fan base of New York City before they have kicked a ball in competitive action.

Yet Pellegrini does not rule out trying to hold onto Lampard beyond the end of the season.

The Chilean said: “I think Frank is doing very well with us and I am happy with him as part of the squad. Not only on the pitch but off the pitch, as a professional, as a leader, which is always good for young players, to see him working here. But at the end of the season, he finishes his contract here. I cannot say what will happen in the future. If I say I cannot say, you will suppose that maybe he will stay here.”

For his part, Lampard issued a statement via his representatives which said he does have an agreement in place with New York and will move there in the summer.

Pellegrini has confirmed City are working to bring in another striker but refused to name Wilfried Bony as their number one target.


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