Extension of Frank Lampard’s loan looks imminent. At least it seems so if we follow the breadcrumb trail Pellegrini is leaving behind - introduce the idea, articulate its merits and assert it’s good for one & good for all – a slow, clever, well thought maneuver to reduce the impact amongst NYCFC fans.
But where does it leave City family?
Let’s take a scenario:
July 2014 & Frank Lampard joins NYCFC. It’s quickly realized that best option for Frank is to go to another club, say Milan, where he is assured to get game time to maintain fitness & form.
Dec 2014 & Milan is struggling to qualify for all important Champions League and are desperate to keep Lampard who has surprisingly hit a golden patch. Now, even if Lampard wants to extend his stay, would Ferran Soriano & Claudio Reyna consider a request from Milan to extend Lampard’s loan? I bet we all know the answer.
With NYCFC in its first season, pre season becomes all the more important as the players & staff have to form "chemistry" as a group. The stark contrast in City’s pre-season in 2012-13 & 2013-14 does point the merits of a proper pre-season in making all the parts of an engine function together. With NYCFC known to be making a team around Lampard, his presence will become all the more important.
Apart of on-field impact, let’s not underestimate the experience & leadership of Lampard will have on a fledgling NYCFC team – it will be as motivating & important for NYCFC project as Yaya Toure was for MCFC project.
Less spoken aspect is Lampard’s own credibility in front of his future NYCFC team mates. Will his team mates take it lightly that Lampard dumped his team for his personal goals? Will they consider NYCFC & MLS a mere footnote & a retirement league in Lampard’s life?
By extending Lampard’s loan, City Football Group would subvert NYCFC for MCFC’s benefit – it would mean both are not independent entities but NYCFC or Melbourne Club is a feeder for mother ship Manchester City. MLS authorities, American media, general public & most importantly NYCFC fans would perceive it as lack of seriousness & commitment of CFG to long term future of NYCFC. A few such deals & a day could come where MLS authorities take action on NYCFC for diluting brand of its licensed franchise and fielding a less competitive team. Is CFG/NYCFC/MCFC prepared to take dent on its image due to such a reprimand or fine? How much bad press CFG/NYCFC/MCGC prepared to take? How much bad blood with fans is justified even before playing a single game?
As Lampard is deemed important for City, isn’t NYCFC in its rights to sell him to City and earn a profit for it (or cut losses on a non-available player)? Demichellis, remember? Tricky, eh?
Pellegrini "I think that what’s better for the club (Man City) is better for all the clubs"
Pellegrini may think so but there are strong arguments on the contrary.
The Financial Fair Play angle: Does Lampard deal break FFP? Hell it doesn’t. But what about future deals? Say, NYCFC buys a young prodigy, who takes MLS by storm to see market value rise substantially but then is sold to City, at cheap! Is it too farfetched for this to happen? Is it contravening to FFP? It very well could. But it is as contravening as Chelsea buying young players, selling them at huge sums and using all of that money to strengthen first team – all within FFP’s ambit!!!
Now should we, Manchester City fans, care for all of this?
Should we care about a rule which has its own faults & bias? I don’t know.
Should we care about anything but winning a trophy? Maybe we shouldn't.
Should we care about sporting perspective for a sister club? Maybe, just maybe, we should.