Lampard’s swift return to Premier League a surprise move

Frank Lampard.
Frank Lampard.
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Twitter sometimes offers some amusing moments.

The bogus account which revealed Frank Lampard would swiftly feel at home at Manchester City as he knew many of their fans from the days when they were Chelsea supporters.

It’s a twist on the accusation that most Manchester United fans don’t hail from the city, but had me chuckling.

Of all the summer transfer activity, on the back of a cracking World Cup in Brazil, Lampard’s decision to join City on loan was the strangest.

Here was a guy who had become a Chelsea legend since moving from West Ham United, had won most things in the game, but decided to follow in the footsteps of David Beckham and try his luck in America’s MLS, with New York City. But if we thought this was the last we would see of Lampard, how wrong we were.

For Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini stunned everyone by drafting in Lampard on loan to bolster a squad which is struggling to adhere to the new financial fair play rules.

Some like Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger believes the deal is a loophole, as New York City are an affiliated club to Manchester City, to avoid the Premier League side incurring any further financial outgoings.

Not that Wenger’s claims seemed to bother Pellegrini.

He said: “As managers, we have enough problems with our own teams to be talking about other teams.

“The only thing I can say is that we have important restrictions about the amount of money we can spend, and Frank Lampard was a free player – we didn’t spend any money in bringing him from New York City to Manchester City.

“He is a competitive player, he will be important for our team and we didn’t spend any money on him, so the rules of financial fair play don’t have any relation with Lampard.”

What is certain is Lampard would be a welcome addition to any Premier League squad, and I was surprised Chelsea did not attempt to keep him.

We will be deprived the chance to see the England midfielder tomorrow when Manchester City face Arsenal in the FA Community Shield.

None of the City players who arrived back from their post-World Cup holidays this week will feature, even if in Lampard’s case his exertions in Brazil were limited.

So expect the showcase game at Wembley to be low key in some quarters.

Maybe it’s the FFP rules, but City’s recruitment has been low-key this summer, while Arsenal have continued to splash the cash, mainly with the headline-catching capture of Alexis Sanchez for about £35m from Barcelona.

With last year’s record signing of Mesut Ozil, the Gunners are now showing they have the financial clout to compete.

“We are less vulnerable now, that is for sure,” Wenger explained.

“In the last two years we bought Ozil and Sanchez – five years ago we would have lost Ozil and Sanchez.”

The Community Shield will feature vanishing spray, as used in the World Cup, for the first time in English football.